Denver, CO: A statewide proposal that seeks to eliminate civil and criminal penalties regarding the limited possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults will appear on the November electoral ballot.
On Monday, the Colorado Secretary of State's office reported that initiative proponents, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, had collected sufficient signatures from registered voters to qualify the measure for the 2012 ballot.
If passed by voters this fall, the measure would immediately allow for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants by those age 21 and over. Longer-term, the measure seeks to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers.
The initiative does not change existing medical cannabis laws for patients, caregivers, and medical marijuana businesses. The measure also prohibits the imposition of an excise tax on any retail sale of medical marijuana.
By contrast, the general assembly would be required to propose "an excise tax of up to 15 percent on the wholesale sale of non-medical marijuana applied at the point of transfer from the cultivation facility to a retail store or product manufacturer." This proposed tax must be approved by a majority of voters in a statewide general election before it could be implemented.
Non-commercial transfers of cannabis would not be subject to taxation.
The measure is supported by a broad coalition of drug law reform organizations, including NORML, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, SAFER, Sensible Colorado, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the Drug Policy Alliance, and the Marijuana Policy Project. NORML's Board of Directors formally endorsed the measure on Thursday.
Full text of the initiative is available online at: http://regulatemarijuana.org.