DENVER (CBS4) – Hundreds of people lined up to get a free joint in Civic Center Park on Monday as part of a protest of the state of Colorado’s plan to heavily tax recreational marijuana.
The protest was set up by opponents of Proposition AA, which calls for 10 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana with the option of going up to 15 percent (and an additional 15 percent excise tax).
They say state leaders are pushing a plan that over-taxes marijuana sales and that that’s not what voters approved when they passed Amendment 64 last year.
“We have one of the leading alcohol industries in the world here in our state with less than a 1 percent tax. That’s what the marijuana tax ought to be. That’s what we support,” said Robert Corry, a spokesman for the No on Proposition AA campaign.
Supporters of the proposition like Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown say money is necessary for proper regulation.
“We will all be affected by this industry and we need to be ready for it — administratively, from the police perspective and from a public health perspective, and that’s what we need this money for,” Brown told CBS4 on Sunday.
Police were keeping a close eye on the people assembled for the rally at midday. People were asked to provide an ID to prove they were 21 or older before they could get one of the joints.
A CBS4 crew in Civic Center Park saw no arrests and witnessed numerous people openly smoking marijuana in the park. As part of Colorado’s new marijuana laws, smoking pot in public is illegal and users must be at least 21.
On Sunday rally organizer Miguel Lopez told CBS4 they were expecting a variety of people would join them in their protest.
“We’re expecting homeless men, stoners, friends, countrymen and women and supporters for justice and Libertarians and Tea Partyers who don’t believe in over-taxation of the government,” Lopez said.