The large "cola" nug of a homegrown marijuana plant.

David Gach

Colorado Lawmakers Call Out Anti-205 Campaign Ads in Arizona

A trio of Colorado lawmakers have sent a letter to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy calling the information in their anti-Proposition 205 campaign commercials “highly misleading” and “wholly inaccurate.” The letter, published by AZ Central, says that Colorado citizens are “confused” by the claims made in the ads and provided a factsheet to dispel the rumors.

“As members of the Colorado Legislature who played intimate roles in the budgeting and appropriation of marijuana tax revenues, we feel it is our duty to set the record straight so that voters in both states have accurate information about this subject,” the letter, signed by Sen. Pat Steadman, and Reps. Jonathan Singer and Millie Hamner, states.

The letter was addressed to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy leaders Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk and conservative talk radio host Seth Leibsohn in response to two ads airing in Arizona which claim that the tax revenues promised for education in Colorado “were empty words” and the funds are being diverted “to regulation and the pot industry.”

Included in the document is a breakdown of how the tax revenues from the cannabis industry have been dispersed. The authors — all three of which sit on their respective legislative Appropriations Committee — point out that more than $138.3 million was distributed to the Colorado Department of Education, while roughly $21 million combined was distributed to the Departments of Revenue, Agriculture, and Law in addition to the less than $500,000 sent to the Governor’s Office of Marijuana Coordination.

Another $114.9 million was appropriated for the Building Excellent Schools Today public school construction program, which was earmarked for $40 million of the tax revenues when voters adopted Amendment 64.

“That tax actually raised more than $40 million in the last fiscal year, resulting in $40 million for the BEST program in [fiscal year] 2016-17, plus an additional $5.7 million for Colorado’s Public School Fund,” the authors wrote.

The letter closes with the authors requesting that the campaign stop airing and publishing campaign ads that “contradict these facts.”

“We also trust they will be reflected in any of your future communications to Arizona voters regarding Colorado’s experience with regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use,” the authors conclude.

Arizona joins California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts in bids to legalize the adult-use of cannabis during next week’s general election.     

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