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Tax opponents hand out free joints in Denver

8:35 PM, Sep 9, 2013   |    comments
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Michael Winter, USA TODAY

USA TODAY - Call it the "Denver Pot Party."

Instead of dumping tea in Boston Harbor, Colorado marijuana activists handed out free joints Monday to hundreds of smokers in Denver to protest November ballot measures seeking to tax personal pot.

The tax opponents brought 600 cigarettes rolled from a donated pound of weed that local authorities had seized illegally, the Denver Post reported. But demand was so high that organizers had to roll more on a car hood to keep up.

"It is legal to hand out marijuana to people in Colorado and it is legal to do it without paying a penny in taxes!" said Rob Corry, a protest organizer and co-author of the pot-enabling constitutional amendment that state voters passed last November.

The Post reported that a few people at the morning giveaway, in Civic Center Park, smoked their freebie but that most in the long line took their gift (after showing I.D.) and left.

KUSA-TV has video.

Amendment 64 allows adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce marijuana for personal, recreational use, to grow six plants and to give up to an ounce as a gift to someone 21 or older. Consumption is regulated like alcohol, with penalties for impaired driving and other misuse.

Beginning Jan. 1, marijuana will be sold in licensed stores, and two ballot measures -- one statewide, the other in Denver -- want voters to tax the green stuff.

Statewide Proposition AA calls for a 15% excise tax and an initial 10% sales tax. Denver's proposal seeks to add an initial 3.5% sales tax that could rise to 15%.

Corry said the taxes -- which he called the largest in state history -- could undermine the new marijuana regimen by keeping buyers away from the stores and sending them to the black market.

Groups lobbying for the taxes and stricter regulation of marijuana opposed the giveaway.

The Committee for Responsible Regulation said the revenue is needed to to regulate the stores, which the U.S. Justice Department has stressed is a crucial to keeping the federal government from cracking down on the state. Marijuana remains a controlled substance under federal law.

State voters approved physician-prescribed medicinal marijuana in 2000.

USA Today

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