Caregivers and Amendment 20 of the Colorado Constitution are under attack. Several weeks ago, Representative Dan Pabon (D–Denver) introduced a bill through the Use of Recreational Marijuana Sales Tax Revenues Interim Study Committee that significantly reduces caregiver’s rights and seeks to create criminal penalties for violations, essentially undermining Article XVIII, otherwise known as Amendment 20, of the Colorado Constitution. Sponsored by Representatives Irene Aguilar (D – District 32) and Jonathan Singer (D – District 11), the new bill will create criminal penalties for caregivers who do not register with the state, requires caregivers to report the number of plants to a criminal database, and limits plant counts to no more than six and gives verification authority to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The whole purpose of the bill is to create more revenue and is not rooted in public safety, although that is often the argument used. Concerning the loss of revenue and the potential abuse of medical marijuana to avoid paying taxes, the bill states “…it is important for the state to ensure that those people who are accessing and engaging in the medical marijuana system are qualified to do so. Otherwise, the state and local governments will be deprived of valuable tax revenue.” In essence, lawmakers think that medical marijuana patients and caregivers are abusing the medical marijuana system because they don’t want to pay taxes. Never mind that they voted for Amendment 20 along with all of its provisions.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that caregivers and patients are being attacked by lawmakers and government officials, the cannabis industry itself is going after caregivers and blaming them for the growth in the back market. At an October 19, 2914 edibles work group, industry members such as Julie Dooley from Julie and Kate Baked Goods, and Julie Berliner of Sweet Grass Kitchens speaking on behalf of the Cannabis Business Alliance, blasted caregivers saying that the high plant counts contributed to black market growth. Medical marijuana made their businesses possible and now they want to push more customers their way by attacking caregivers.
There is no data supporting the claim that caregivers, in particular those with elevated plant counts, are contributing to the data. In fact, news from surrounding states supports that it is recreational marijuana crossing state lines. Their claims also fail to consider all of the contributing factors to the growth of the black market, including high taxes, high licensing and application fees, high entry to market costs, prior criminal records, specifically non-violent drug offenses doing things that are now legal, people using the law as a cover, which of course will happen as it does with cigarettes and alcohol, city and county bans on retail or medical marijuana a stores, and the extremely low cost of marijuana. What has not been mentioned in conversation yet are the price wars that are driving the costs so low that people can get ounces for around $150 and get up to two to three times more that amount by selling marijuana across state lines, in other words, a pound of marijuana here that is around $2000-$2200 can go for $2000 to over $6000.
It is important that all stakeholders consider all of the reasons for the growth in the black market, not just focus on the caregivers. Attacking caregivers comes across as a way to kill the competition, and if the industry does away with caregivers, it will gain all of the patients as customers. As with the government, industry also stands to gain from doing away with caregivers. Part of the reason for the recent attacks could be a side effect of the overall strategy to legalize marijuana. According to a 2012 Denver Post article that interviewed Mason Tvert and Rob Kampia from the Marijuana Policy Project, the strategy to legalize marijuana is to first legalize medical marijuana, and then introduce recreational marijuana. As a result, law makers are trying to take away caregiver and patient rights in order to force them to a retail model to gain more revenue. The ethics of this are questionable considering that people voted for the medical marijuana laws in good faith. It is not fair to “bait and switch” voters.
Caregivers are still very much needed in our community. Attacking them as the sole reason for diversion to the black market is discrimination. We should all be able to coexist together and helping each other improve our laws by empowering each other, not tearing each other down in working groups or attempt to reduce rights that people voted for self-gain. We should be working together to find solutions mutually beneficial to us all. Caregivers provide a very valuable service to their patients. Being a caregiver is very individualized based on the patients needs. Some people need more assistance in life than others. Those that just need marijuana can go to a dispensary, those that want a more personal relationship with their caregiver should have that right, especially since they voted for that right. Dispensaries and retail centers do not give the same level of attention and care to their customers as a personal caregiver does, and more people desire a more detailed level of attention. Caregivers play a critical role in providing access to medical marijuana in remote places, produce and administer medicine for their family members and close friends, and act as an additional resource for providing needs to improve quality of life.
The Cannabis Caregivers Alliance was founded after a concerned group of caregivers and other stakeholders came together. Launching as a 501 (c) 4 affiliate of the Cannabis Consumers Coalition, the CCA will be working hard to fight for rights under Amendment 20 along with other consumer rights issues. Patients and caregivers are consumers as well, so are the organizations that sustain them. Battling this issue is a community endeavor. We need all hands on deck to protect caregiver and patient rights. For more information on how you can help, like the Cannabis Consumer Coalition’s Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/MJConsumer, the Cannabis Caregivers Alliance Page https://www.facebook.com/420CannaCare, or on Twitter @MJConsumer.
The marijuana industry, predicted by some to be a boon economy, and with all of the new and exciting growth and positive outcomes, is not the rising tide that many thought it would be. After almost a year of legal retail sales, and approaching three years since Amendment 64 passed, crime and teen use has gone down, but the black market has thrived. Sure it has only been just shy of nine months, but in places like Denver, the black-market, and what has become known as the grey market, is still alive and operating as it was before. Driving this are high costs to market entry, high taxes, high application and high licensing fees, and localities who have banned medical and retail marijuana.
On the streets in Denver, nothing has really changed in terms of the black market. Black “marketeers” are as easily found as legitimate business owners. They aren’t passing out cards, but those who established in the marijuana community know who they are. No one is ratting them out either. The rules of the game on the streets haven’t changed overnight, nor will they in the next hundred years. For people in urban communities, they have more trust in their neighborhood networks. Going to a recreational store is a novelty, and a place where people have more variety, but at a cost, especially for the underprivileged. The same group who in mass contributed to grassroots activism to get marijuana legalized.
The marijuana industry is a different story. Many people became very wealthy after January 1, 2014. Many of them were lucky enough to have money to influence policy and regulations in their favor to set them up for this success. The result, a barrier to entry into a market so high, that it is easier for people to get into just about any other industry out there, save for the oil and gas (many of these folks are migrating to cannabis now), and pharmaceutical industries. This happened with Colorado HB 1284, that regulated and licensed the medical marijuana industry, and again with the regulatory structure supporting Amendment 64.
Across the country, it is increasingly getting more and more expensive to break into the marijuana industry. As expensive as it is, Colorado is actually one of the cheapest. Some blame it on the prohibitionists, but the truth is, the marijuana industry and most industry lobbyists are to blame. A good example of this is the Realm of Caring organization by the Stanley brothers. They are going across the country and lobbying, and getting, some of the most expensive licensing fees to date, coming in at $150,000 to get a license to grow CBD in Florida. To grow weed. Yup. That is happening. Guess who bears the costs? The consumer, and we fought for this right. I think many people can agree this is not what they expected.
In addressing the elephant in the room, a good deal of the new marijuana industry is classist, whether it was intentional or not is irrelevant at this point. Because the laws and regulations favor those that are already wealthy, or those that have access to wealth (which is technically also considered wealthy). Lotteries in states are picking winners based on their assets, in some states requiring them to be worth a million dollars. This is not regulating like alcohol. Mason Tvert, Communications Director for MPP, and former SAFER Executive Director says that the poor in the marijuana community are suffering from similar social policies across the board. So why perpetuate them? He also says that it is too soon to make any calls about the black market, and that the same drivers of market behavior apply to this industry as others. Then he should know that when it comes to quality and variety that the poor choose lessor cheaper items, exactly what you find on the black market. The Cannabis Consumers Coalition supports marijuana legalization, but believes that consumers and many of the grassroots activists, not grassroots donors, but those marginalized because of the drug war who gathered in all-weather conditions to protest marijuana prohibition, were sold a bill of goods
To combat the issue of the black and grey markets, some law makers and industry lobbyists are going after caregivers to address concerns of diversion to the black market. To combat attacks on rights given under Amendment 20, an organization has been formed called the Cannabis Caregivers Alliance. It is not fair that the industry and state officials, sometimes working in tandem, go after legal caregivers, especially without taken meaningful measures to address the issues of economic and racial disparity. The reality about caregivers is that the majority of them are growing for less than five patients, and in areas where medical retail marijuana stores are banned, and in rural areas, caregivers are still needed. It is not the caregivers’ fault that the black market is thriving; to blame are protectionist policies, and policies made out of fear and discrimination.
The presence of a black market is something that significantly impacts consumers. So far arrests have gone down, however one bust of a large illegal marijuana operation will make the whole industry look bad, threatening the whole “experiment.” The lack of quality control over products on the black market puts consumers at risk, yet high costs force them there regardless of the appeal of variety and safety. Money is money, and for those living from paycheck to paycheck or less, but want a safer alternative to alcohol, sometimes the logical choice to them is to go to the black market.
To eliminate the black market, taxes need to be lowered, and more importantly, application and licensing fees need to be in line with alcohol licensing costs, and restrictions on people with non-violent criminal drug charges need to be removed. Removing these barriers will collectively add to lower costs and more incentives for people to become legitimate businesses, or at least switch to other riskier activities outside of marijuana. After all, many marijuana business owners were illegal operators themselves, they just never got caught. It is only fair to create a market where all people who are passionate about marijuana can participate, not only just those with privilege and access to wealth. The Cannabis Consumers Coalition understands why these laws are being created, yet it is time to start working on making things right for those that suffered the most under marijuana prohibition.
The Cannabis Consumers Union’s commitment is to protecting marijuana consumers, and this includes protecting consumers from businesses who may not have the best in mind for the whole industry. We believe that big business has got too much power over all industries and has become too involved in politics that protect their interests, and not the consumers, and have even hijacked the democratic process itself. Rulings like Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission have given more power to businesses than to the individual resulting in the biggest flow of money from business into politics that effectively stole our voices. Couple that with businesses such as Koch Industries and Monsanto and its subsidiaries poisoning us by dumping cancer causing chemicals and genetically modifying food with chemicals, and it is just a recipe for disaster.
What happens when one of our own decides to partner up with a former executive connected to one of these horrible companies? Well, at minimum it needs to be exposed, analyzed, and boycotted. It is not worth the risk. People and organizations rarely change their behavior. The company in question is United Cannabis Corporation and its recent announcement that it is bringing onto their board former Monsanto Executive, John C. Hunter III as an advisor. This should alarm everyone in the cannabis community, hemp included. His history is pure evil, and directly tied to those who have kept marijuana prohibited all these years.
Let’s start by looking at the obvious. A quick search shows that John C. Hunter III is akin to Dr. Evil in the disasters that he has caused for some human beings. He ran Solutia, Inc., a chemical spin-off of Monsanto that is responsible for poisoning Anniston, AL with so many cancer causing PCBs that it has been named the most poisonous place in America. Residents can’t grow vegetables, eat food, shew gum or, scarily, kick up dirt in their own yard. Hunter knew the chemicals were poisonous and yet he kept it a secret and if it wasn’t for a soil company called Soil Conservation Service discovering it and Hunter having to pay $700 million in damages and fines, no one would have ever known.
John C. Hunter III is also connected to DuPont through his previous company Hercules, which was DuPont owned gunpowder business that was forced to branch off from its parent company in 1912 due to federal antitrust violations. **Record scratch – yes you read that right.** Hunter is connected to DuPont, the very industry that was behind marijuana prohibition in the first place. It is bad enough that he has presided over companies that have caused the cancer that people use marijuana for, but having worked for a company that was founded by those responsible for the loss of millions of lives through death or imprisonment due to cannabis prohibition is simply reprehensible. This would be like hiring Hitler to work at a hospital.
It probably won’t be surprising that United Cannabis, Tony Verzura and team will try to paint a picture of a repented Hunter who is coming to the cannabis industry to make up for his evil deeds. Cry us a river. Millions of people are dead because of corporate greed and he is coming back to feed at the trough. It is so just completely unethical that it almost seems to be a joke.
Don’t be fooled cannabis consumers. There is a pathology to greed and power. John C. Hunter III saw an opportunity in the America’s fastest growing industry and Tony Verzura, owner of River Rock just let him in. Thanks a lot bro for throwing the whole industry under the bus for your own selfish gain. Verzura even wrote a statement on Facebook defending United Cannabis Corporation’s actions by saying that ultimately this was to stop Monsanto from coming in. So, basically he is stopping Monsanto by becoming just like Monsanto. He is already trying to secure licensing on patents for genetically engineered strains, so it is not out of the realm of possibility that United Cannabis Corporation is trying to become the next Monsanto with of their former minions, he calls him coach, now advising them. He must really think the cannabis community is stupid.
In his statement, Verzura goes on to talk about the possibility of the government rescheduling marijuana to a schedule II on the CSA and that all of this may just be irrelevant and that he already has a pharmaceutical grade laboratory built in Canada to run to in case that happens. Yet, with the direction the company is going, they are actually positioning themselves to do well in case marijuana does become a schedule 2. The press releases and appointments to the board give a glimpse into the company’s strategy, so he is hiding something. Plus, River Rock and their allegiance to the Marijuana Industry Group have resulted in protectionist lobbying before. Remember, they supported the monopolizing vertical integration rule (also known as 70/30) and they were recently wanted to ban home growers from being caregivers. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Verzura, River Rock, United Cannabis aren’t also lobbying for schedule II behind closed doors. What better ay than to corner a market. (Read the statement in its entirety below).
Maybe Tony Vezsura and the United Cannabis Corporation didn’t do their due diligence. However, that seems really unlikely because the whole board was obviously put together strategically, so they definitely knew his past. Tony admits it himself in his statement. The statement is really a shallow disguise for what seems to be more nefarious intentions in monopolizing the industry. What a shame, because it is the goal for the marijuana movement to also create a better world, not own it. And that is what it looks like United Cannabis wants to do, monopolize the industry for its own benefits.
The cannabis industry has the opportunity to show the world what a new ethical market based on the principles of conscious capitalism. One that empowers other players, not disempowers them. Big business has done a lot to undermine the people and the democratic process. If it truly comes down to lack of oversight and due diligence on part Tony Versura and the United Cannabis Corporation, then the right thing to do will be to dismiss John C. Hunter III, because regardless of the change of heart he may have had (we will find out soon what the “story” is), based on his past he most certainly does not deserve a seat at the table. If United Cannabis does not keep integrity with the marijuana movement, and keeps Hunter on board, then it is only the duty of cannabis consumers to boycott all related companies, including River Rock and all of the businesses that are associated with the United Cannabis Corporation.
Statement from River Rock owner Tony Verzura:
Attention Patients & Patrons
This message is being brought to you by Tony Verzura, founder and owner at RiverRock & United Cannabis, to expand upon the rumors flying around that we have some how “joined” with Monsantos. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and I would like to explain the reasons behind the newly appointed financial advisor at United Cannabis John Hunter, and the interim CEO of Earnest Blackmon.
First, since the DEA is about to officially lose their financial support from the DOJ, the FDA is strongly considering rescheduling cannabis from a Class 1 to a Class 2. If that happens it is quit possibly the worse thing in the US for medical patients. Why? Because that will require all cultivation and distribution of cannabis based products used for “medical purposes” to be distributed thru outlets like Walgreens pharmacy. Every major pharmaceutical company and distributor outside the US is suiting up and getting into the industry. In fact, they are trying to control the industry to make it very very hard to even exist. United Cannabis has a bi-lateral partner in Canada with a state of the art facility already built to pharmaceutical specifications. You can tour this facility on UCANNTV (YouTube) to see the types of efforts we are making to not lose the opportunity to continue to help patients world wide with our natural product lines (non-gmo) cannabinoid based therapeutics developed for prevention, management, and regenerative medicine. These products are developed to help patients with chronic disease and cancer.
Secondly, Monsantos has already genome mapped 4 strains, filing patents on the plant, and implementing these strains into countries where medical cannabis is legal. GW has filed for inactive cannabinoid patents with all ratio’s of CBD:THC and pushing to control many forms of cannabis based medicine with their patents in the US as of last week. If the FDA reschedule cannabis this would mean these companies would be in control of your medicine.
United Cannabis has formed a company with myself, the master grower at RiverRock, the guys who discovered stem cells currently running research and trials on natural based products at universities to fight chronic diseases and cancer. We formed a power horse of management, science, and processors from the industry to stand up against this movement so companies like Monsanto’s will NOT have control. In order to give United Cannabis, and the team, and patients a fighting chance, United Cannabis took on John Hunter who retired from what was Monsanto’s 10 years ago. He came to us to help United Cannabis fight back, and not get run over like 95% of our industry if this should happen. He was appointed as a financial advisor to help us form strategy against Monsanto’s. Earnie Blackmon was appointed to interim CEO with John Hunter advising him on how to structure a public company for success against his former team mates. Essentially, we have hired on their X coach until we figure out the next moves being made at the government level. If any of you know RiverRock, United Cannabis, Rare Dankness, or myself you would certainly know we are the opposite of that company, but we will not allow them to force our industry to exile. We do not even release feminized seeds so you should already know where we stand. These are the facts, and I do hope this sheds some light on the subject. Many articles will be released thru familiar sources on this subject to help ensure we are fighting as hard as a company can fight for patients rights to access their medicine.
Last Friday, June 27th, Denver police raided Maryjane Social Club, which resulted in three citations and one person having their dab rig confiscated for evidence. The story is still being fleshed out with Maryjane Social Club, and it is possible that there may have been a violation in terms of checking IDs, but the overall incident puts forth a major question: where can cannabis consumers consume safely and “legally?” It depends on where they live, and if they live in Denver, they are not welcome, as Friday night’s event showed.
Apparently, the only place that cannabis consumers can partake is in their homes, or in the few lucky areas in the state where local officials are much more respectful of the will of majority. Pueblo, CO is permitting cannabis clubs, and iBake Denver, technically in unincorporated Adams County, has been able to operate free of hassle. At places like iBake Denver, people sign up as members for the freedom to use marijuana in a social setting with other people with similar interests, not hiding in a home like some kind of freak, which is apparently what Denver is pushing for.
What would be best for Colorado and Denver are marijuana cafes, but with the current leadership in the Denver City Council, it will be an uphill if not impossible battle. Social clubs, which require membership fees and members disclosing personal information, are a good stop gap measure, but are not the best sustainable model for robust economic growth. Allowing for cafes, which would be similar to alcohol bars, would create a new revenue stream, create new jobs, new education and certification opportunities for marijuana trade schools, and new licensing opportunities to generate money for the city and state.
However, with the lack of support from the state’s capital city, it is urgent that Denver be called out on anti-marijuana actions when 66% of voters in Denver alone voted for Amendment 64. Voters need to show their disapproval during Denver’s mayoral and city council election in May 2015. Mayor Hancock is up for re-election and he has been very anti-marijuana, which is very concerning considering the 66% of voters who voted for marijuana legalization
Some of the city council members are so against marijuana that last year they proposed a draconian ordinance violating voters’ will that would have made it illegal for someone to smoke inside their home or on their porch if someone walking on the public sidewalk could see the consumption taking place. They would have literally violated property rights had there not been so much passionate testimony in their persecution of marijuana that helped amend the ordinance. To remind cannabis consumers, here are the councilmembers who voted in favor of violating property rights: Jeanne Robb, Judy Montero, Jeanne Faatz, Debbie Ortega, Chris Herndon, Peggy Lehmann and Albus Brooks. Well, the time has come for some of them, along with Mayor Hancock, to answer for their deeds.
A few of the Councilmembers are facing term limits, some of them marijuana legalization opponents, so it is critical to fill their seats with candidates that support marijuana. Charlie Brown in district 6, who has been the most active councilmember in opposition to marijuana laws, term limits in 2015. It is critical that his seat get filled by a candidate who supports marijuana. Other councilmembers term limiting are Jeanne Fatz from district 2, Peggy Lehmann from district 4, Judy Montero from district 9, Jeanne Robb from district 10, and Chris Nevitt from district 7, who is not term limited and is running for city auditor. All of the councilmembers mentioned except for Nevitt do not view marijuana favorable and once out, it will be critical to fill their seats with marijuana friendly candidates.
The Cannabis Consumers Union provides its members and the general public with information on how political candidates stand on cannabis issues. So far there are two candidates that have shown solid support for the new marijuana industry. Susan Shepherd is running for reelection in district 1 in 2015 and has been one of the most vocal supporters of marijuana in Denver. Jose Silva who will be running as an at-large candidate has a long history in the cannabis movement and will probably win the vote just for that reason.
It will be refreshing to have candidates who will see the value of upholding voters while also doing proactive things for the new industry, such as economic development projects and of course, fighting for the right to consume marijuana in safe places. Cannabis consumers have a right to be able to consume in safe places while socializing, and it should be similar to cafes that people can walk into at will and pay as they use. Denver voters can help by writing current and future councilmembers and the mayor’s office to voice their concerns, and to perhaps politely remind them that this is a defining issue for a positive vote.
Stay tuned for more information on candidates as it becomes available.
The Cannabis Consumers Union is a cannabis consumer advocacy organization that does not endorse any one political party, but strives to provide the cannabis community with information on which candidates support cannabis so that members can make informed choices based on their own political party’s candidates. Below is a list of candidates running for election or re-election and their views and voting history on cannabis. Please note that this list will be updated as we get closer to the general election in November:
John W. Hickenlooper (D- Incumbent) – Has a terrible record of coming out against cannabis legalization and not supporting the economic growth of an industry that has provided 10,000 new jobs, nearly $50 million in sales, and potentially $98 million is tax revenue for the state.
Tom Tancredo (R) – Supports cannabis.
Scott Gessler (R) – No known position on cannabis.
Bob Beauprez (R) – No known position on cannabis.
Mike Kopp (R) – Kopp is concerned about the impact cannabis legalization will have on children. He did not support legalization and wants to be tough on cannabis as he thinks legalization has been disastrous for public safety.
Matthew Hess (L) – Supports cannabis and was opposed to the extra sales tax on cannabis.
Mike Donafon (I) – Libertarian activist who is very vocal supporter of cannabis and is endorsed by the Denver 420 Rally.
Joseph Garcia (D – Incumbent) – Is currently Gov. Hickenlooper’s Lieutenant Governor and more than likely supports the same negative views, although there is no known position on cannabis that can be located online.
Vera Ortegon (R) – Mike Kopp’s running who does not support cannabis and has gone as far as saying that cannabis is not medicine.
Brandon Young (I) – Matthew Hess’s running mate. No known position on cannabis.
Don Quick (D) – Opposed cannabis legalization.
Cynthia Koffman (R) – Has stated that she will defend voters’ will, even if she does not personally believe in cannabis legalization.
David K. Williams (L) – Very public supporter of cannabis legalization and was a speaker on behalf of the Amendment 64 campaign.
United States Senate
Mark Udall (D) – On record supporting cannabis reform and in 2001 cosponsored a bill entitled “States’ Rights to Medical Marijuana Act.”
Cory Gardner (R) – Recently (as of 2014) voted against defunding medical marijuana raids.
United States House of Representatives
Diana DeGette (D- District 1) – Long time supporter of cannabis and recently introduced a bill entitled “Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act.”
Martin Walsh (R – District 1) – Walsh is running against DeGette. He has not stated and position on cannabis and his campaign staff did not reply to a request for information.
Jared Polis (D – District 2) – Jared Polis is a very vocal advocate of cannabis and is also pushing for legalization at the federal level by introducing a bill to remove authority over cannabis from the DEA called the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act .”
George Leing (R – District 2) – No known position on cannabis.
Scott Tipton (R – District 3) – Does not support cannabis and recently voted against defunding the DEA’s medical marijuana program and thinks that cannabis legalization is dangerous for children.
David Cox (R – District 4) – Considers using cannabis a states’ rights issue and that the Controlled Substance Act is unconstitutional.
Vic Meyers (D – District 4) – Believes cannabis legalization is a states’ rights issue and that the Federal Government should respect state rights.
Ken Buck (R – District 4) – The Weld County District Attorney is against marijuana legalization.
Steve Laffey (R – District 4) – Is against cannabis legalization, opposes banking for the cannabis industry, and believes that Colorado is the laughing stock of the country.
Barbara Kirkmeyer (R – District 4) – No known position on cannabis.
Scott Renfroe (R – District 4) – Voting record suggests support for cannabis, however in 2010 stated that the National Guard be called against medical marijuana activists protesting at the capitol. Renfroe voted for cannabis regulations, against extra cannabis sales taxes, and against setting marijuana DUID bill.
Doug Lamborn (R – District 5) – Lamborn is neutral on cannabis legalization and recently voted yes to defund the DEA’s medical marijuana program. In an interview with Colorado Pols, he said he once voted marijuana legislation that was funded by George Soros.
Bentley Rayburn (R – District 5) – No known position on cannabis. In an interview with Colorado Pols, he shows no real commitment by saying that there is potential for medical marijuana, but that marijuana is a dangerous drug.
Irv Halter (D – District 5) – No known position on cannabis.
Mike Coffman (R – District 6) – Voted against Amendment 64, but stated that he respects the will of voters, supports the Colorado cannabis banking bill, and recently voted for defunding the DEA’s medical marijuana program. He also believes that cannabis legalization will keep Fortune 500 companies out of Colorado.
Andrew Romanoff (D – District 6) – Supported controversial blue wording for Amendment 44 in 2006 essentially stating that if passed, adults could give cannabis to minors who were under 15 years old.
Ed Perlmutter (D – District 7) – Supports marijuana and recently introduced the “Commonsense Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act.”
Don Ytterberg (R – District 7) – No known position on cannabis.
Douglass Campbell (Constitution Party District 7) – No known position on cannabis.
Colorado Congressional District Map
Press Release: Larisa Bolivar, Founder of the Cannabis Consumers Union, the World’s First Cannabis Consumer Watch Dog Group, Joins Law Suit against High Marijuana Taxes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Larisa Bolivar, 703-244-4857
Larisa Bolivar, Founder of the Cannabis Consumers Union, the World’s First Cannabis Consumer Watch Dog Group, Joins Law Suit against High Marijuana Taxes
Denver, CO – June 10, 2014 – Larisa E. Bolivar, the founder of the Cannabis Consumers Union and Executive Director of the No Over Taxation committee that ran the No on Proposition AA campaign, is a plaintiff in a law suit against current marijuana taxes along with a team of cannabis warriors who are concerned with the impact of excessive taxes and regulations on the very young cannabis industry, as well as the impacts on consumers.
The law suit, filed by Robert J. Corry, Jr. in City and County of Denver, Colorado District Court against Governor Hickenlooper, the Colorado Department of Revenue, Mayor Hancock, and the Denver Treasury Division, challenges the constitutionality of Proposition AA the current 25% additional tax on marijuana, as well as the constitutionality of the current regulations that are making new businesses and their customers bear the burden of excessive costs. Many of the regulations violate Section 16 (5) (a) of Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution due to many of them being unreasonably impracticable. Larisa and the No Over Taxation committee is joined by Miguel Lopez, William Chengalis, and Kathleen Chippi.
Launched in April 2014, the Cannabis Consumers Union is the world’s first cannabis consumer protection group. While it believes that a well regulated market is the key to consumers and public protection, many of the current regulations have become unreasonably burdensome and violate constitutional law. The Cannabis Consumers Union is a grass-roots non-profit member-based charitable organization awaiting 501 (c) (3) exemption from the IRS. Founded by a minority, the majority of the merchant partners are minority owned businesses as well. Please visit www.cannabisconsumer.org for more information.
As anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock should know by now, Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Washington, DC have legalized the recreational use of cannabis, with the first legal cannabis sales occurring in Colorado on January 1, 2014. With that first sale, a new industry was launched. Born from smaller, more exclusive medical marijuana industry, the recreational cannabis industry is opening the door to millions of people looking to buy legal weed. This opened up a need for a collective voice for the cannabis consumer, whether that consumer be a recreational user, patient, or caregiver.
The cannabis industry is a brand new industry. Issues are now coming up that impact the consumer most, such as edibles, labeling, dosing, patient plant counts, and high taxes; however, these issues are battled over at the capitol by industry lobbyists with special interests in mind, not the individual. The consumers also need a voice in setting industry standards. These standards include consumer and public safety, price gouging, customer service, quality control, and education.
While there are a variety of groups advocating for patient and industry rights, up until the founding of the Cannabis Consumers Coalition, there was no national cannabis watchdog group looking out for all cannabis consumers exclusively. Most national organizations support the consumer and the industry, creating a conflict of interest that is never fully representing one specific group. The Cannabis Consumers Coalition is a membership organization that caters exclusively to the concerns of the individual consumer. It was founded by the people, for the people.
The name was chosen as a reflection of unity, and the logo represents the movement as it is, one for the people, the first representing power to the people, where it should be. The motto is “My Coalition, My Voice, My Choice” and reflects the individuality of the group. Together we have a collective voice, and together we have power. Together, cannabis consumers will work to set industry standards that meet their needs.
As the cannabis industry grows, so will the voice of the consumer. This is just the beginning of years of shaping and reshaping the industry. The time is now for an organization that exclusively advocates for you, the consumer.