Colorado: Lawmakers' Attempt To Repeal Marijuana Legalization Falls Short
By Steve Elliott
Marijuana legalization in Colorado "appeared to be in serious trouble" Monday night, according to The Associated Press. But the late-night effort fell short.
A bipartisan group of state senators late on Monday raced a midnight deadline to possibly repeal retail cannabis legalization. It was a last-moment plan, because lawmakers on Wednesday conclude their work for the year.
Facing the threat of a filibuster and being outvoted in the House, state senators gave up the repeal plans and adjourned Monday just before 10 p.m. without advancing the repeal, the AP reports.
The possibility of repeal arose after the Senate had given initial approval to a cannabis DUI blood-limit standard that they had rejected several times before, including twice this year.
The repeal measure was described by Senate President John Morse as an attempt to "get the marijuana industry's attention" and urge their support for taxes, which will require another vote this fall because of Colorado tax law.
"Here is the inherent problem: The marijuana industry has no incentive to support a tax increase it promised voters," claimed Morse.
The last-minute repeal attempt enraged marijuana advocates, some of whom ran up several flights of stairs to quickly testify against the measure when they got word it would be heard.
"You're subverting the will of the voters," Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) spokesman Joe Megysy told the lawmakers.
Even House members seemed taken aback by the late-night maneuver to ask voters -- again -- whether retail marijuana sales should be legal.
The measure, if approved, would have asked Colorado's voters this fall whether retail marijuana sales should be repealed without an accompanying vote to tax cannabis more than 30 percent.
On Tuesday, the Senate plans to consider a regulatory bill setting labeling requirements and advertising limits for retail marijuana. That bill includes a first-in-the-U.S. attempt to treat cannabis magazines like pornography, forcing retailers to put them behind the counter to "protect" shoppers under 21.