Sensible Colorado Seeks to Tax, Regulate Marijuana

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Sensible Colorado Seeks to Tax, Regulate Marijuana

The following news release is reproduced here because it offers important news and views about a regional or local issue.

Contact: Brian Vicente, J.D., Executive Director
www.sensiblecolorado.org

New Organization Seeks to Tax and Regulate Marijuana in Colorado

Denver, CO, March 28, 2005 -- The current initiatives at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University seeking to lessen the sanctions on marijuana use, along with the ongoing difficulties encountered by licensed medical marijuana patients, demand a re-evaluation of our current policy of marijuana prohibition. Sensible Colorado is a new non-profit whose mission is to educate policy makers and the general public about the failures of our current drug policy and introduce fiscally-responsible alternatives.

Sensible Colorado's primary project is the Colorado Marijuana Initiative (CMI). The long-term objective of CMI is to tax and regulate marijuana, similar to alcohol, in the state of Colorado by 2008.

Sensible Colorado believes that marijuana prohibition is an archaic, ineffective policy that drains law enforcement and judicial resources while depriving the state of the tax benefit that could be realized through the regulated sale of marijuana. This tax benefit, estimated to be anywhere from 17 to 100 million dollars, could help Colorado provide drug and alcohol abuse treatment to the 250,000 Colorado residents in need of these services who currently go without.

CMI seeks to control marijuana through a system of strict regulation that:

* limits marijuana sales to adults aged 21 or older;

* taxes marijuana through its sale at licensed and regulated shops;

* meets community standards regarding location of sale;

* reduces teen access to marijuana;

* boosts penalties for those who sell or give marijuana to minors;

* and punish those who drive under the influence of marijuana.

CMI will also educate doctors, law enforcement, and other policy makers as to the current medical marijuana system in Colorado and research ways to create a more effective system that protects both patients and their physicians.

Sensible Colorado is encouraged by efforts in other states to reform marijuana policy, including: (1) a statewide citizen's ballot initiative in Alaska supported by 42% of voters to tax and regulate marijuana; (2) city ballot initiatives in Seattle, Oakland, and Columbia, MO, making the enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest priority for those cities' police departments; (3) a citizen's ballot initiative in Oakland calling on the city counsel to convene a committee to study the possible structure of a tax and regulate system for marijuana; (4) and two attempted Nevada statewide ballot initiatives seeking to legalize personal possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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