Update below: Attorney Rob Corry still isn't talking about his recent public pot smoking bust. But he's got lots to say about No on Proposition AA, a campaign fighting a marijuana tax measure up for vote in November. He's already helped organize joint giveaway rallies in Denver and Boulder. Now, Corry and company plan a protest outside today's fundraiser for supporters of Proposition AA, with free joints supplemented by "dab buses" adult attendees can visit at no charge. Below, see a Corry Q&A and details about the latest event, plus photos from previous ones.
As we've reported, the No on Prop AA forces don't object to the concept of taxing recreational marijuana in general. But they feel the rates set by Proposition AA -- a 15 percent excise tax and a 10 percent sales tax that can be raised to 15 percent without an additional vote -- are too high, especially given that they will be supplemented by local and standard sales taxes.
These views were espoused at the aforementioned gatherings in Denver and Boulder, at which free joints were given to attendees 21 and over -- something that's legal under Amendment 64, which allows legal adults to use and possess small amounts of marijuana.
The latest protest is related to Corry says is a Yes on Proposition AA fundraiser this evening at the Denver Beer Co., 1695 Platte Street; Governor John Hickenlooper is expected to attend, with the reported price of taking part ranging from donations of $1,000 to $5,000.
We reached out to Yes on Prop AA spokesman Joe Megyesy about the event and the planned protest, and (Update) he confirms that such a fundraiser is taking place tonight, with Governor Hickenlooper expected to attend and donation requests as described above. As for the protest, he says, "I think it shows that the contrast between our two campaigns is stark. We're engaged in responsibly regulating marijuana in Colorado and fulfilling the promise made to 55 percent of Colorado voters who passed Amendment 64 with the notion that it would pay for its own regulation. And we think we should focus on policy, not on political or media stunts."
Megyesy adds that approving Proposition AA will help convince "the federal government that it doesn't need to interfere with Colorado's efforts to responsibly regulate marijuana." Moreover, "passing a tax and demonstrating to the government that we can create revenue for them will make the government much more apt to create a fix for the marijuana industry's problems with banking and financial services," which he identifies as "one of the key struggles the industry in Colorado is facing right now."
For his part, Corry answered a series of questions about the protest, which will run from 4:20 p.m. to 7 p.m. this evening, with two parking spaces reserved near the Denver Beer Co. for the aforementioned dab buses. A No on Proposition AA press release and full details follow the Q&A and photos from the Denver rally at Civic Center Park in September.
Westword: Why did you decide to stage the latest free-joint rally as a protest to the Yes on Proposition AA event?
Rob Corry: Working men and women were disappointed that the Governor of our fine state has sold himself for $1,000-$5,000 to raise money for The Marijuana Cartel that commits daily federal crimes such as out-of-state diversion. Many voters would love to meet the Governor, but do not have $5,000 to pay for the privilege. We are also attempting to demonstrate "real time" that this excessive tax -- the highest tax in Colorado history -- cannot work since there will be many avenues for people to obtain marijuana without paying any taxes. Also, my friend Brian Vicente [co-author of Amendment 64 and co-chairmen of Yes on Proposition AA] enjoys taking personal credit for various things, but refuses our invitation to debate about "The Vicente Tax." Since he and I are both attorneys, he must agree that Truth can emerge from a fair debate where both sides can be heard. [Today], we are taking the debate to them.
WW: Is it your view that Proposition AA is biased in favor of wealthy dispensary owners and hurts people without as many financial resources?
RC: Yes, that is the view of the "No on Prop AA" campaign. The large dispensaries that make up the few members of so-called "MEDICAL Marijuana Industry Group" (MMIG, an Amendment 64 opponent) are salivating about the excessive tax as a bludgeon against smaller "Mom and Pop" organic shops that have quality cannabis but serve a smaller clientele. Sales taxes and excise taxes are inherently regressive and harm poor people disproportionately. The Limousine Liberal Democrat Governor Hickenlooper wants to overtax the people since he, too, wishes for the failure of Amendment 64. The Cartel's larger dispensaries know they will be able to cheat even more effectively on taxes if The Vicente Tax passes since they are larger and harder to track.
WW: How would you describe the "dab buses"?
Our Q&A continues with Corry's response about "dab buses."
RC: An oasis of freedom, a place of laughter and joy, and a safe place where people can exercise their Colorado Constitutional rights. This is why we are inviting Governor Hickenlooper to be the first governor in history to enter into a dab bus, either before or after he sells himself for $1,000-$5,000. What happens on the dab bus stays on the dab bus.
WW: Will the windows of these buses be blocked so that no one can see what's going on inside?
RC: The dab buses operate in compliance with Colorado law. They should not be a problem unless the idea of adults exercising their constitutional freedoms somehow offends.
WW: Do you believe the dab bus concept is legal under Amendment 64 and won't run afoul of restrictions against public consumption?
RC: The dab buses operate throughout our state legally. It would be better if we could have more "brick and mortar" clubs, but the state is trying to clear the field for alcohol establishments like Denver Beer Co., and eliminate competition from marijuana. But, the creativity of the human pot-smoking mind knows no boundaries. If the government tries to shut one door, we open three more. Marijuana will not be contained. It will not be restrained. It will not be over-taxed.
WW: Do you have any evidence at this point that the joint giveaways are swaying the public to oppose Proposition AA?
RC: Yes, the point of these events is to get people talking about taxes. We succeeded at that, and have seized the campaign momentum with almost no money, unlike our Cartel opponents who will try to buy the election with money raised by the Governor. Also, we have internal street polling that voters are questioning the wisdom of imposing upon themselves the highest tax increase in Colorado history. Thankfully, this is not a popularity contest between Brian Vicente and myself, since he is a likable young desk lawyer and I am a notorious, courtroom street brawler with personal defects. Fortunately, the merits or lack of merits of Prop AA will be decided on issues, not personalities.
WW: Is there any polling to suggest that support for Proposition AA is eroding?
RC: Although we are running a campaign with very little funding, unlike the big dollars on the other side, we have taken many street polls that show people do not want to send a newly legalized industry back into the pre-Prohibition underground market. People are saying this tax is too high. Colorado's Cannabis community is past the stage of begging for legitimacy. We employ thousands of people. We rent vacant commercial space. We feed families and children. We saved Colorado's economy in the last few years. We provide a stellar product, and do it with government jackals relentlessly nipping at our heels every day. We are proud. We are voting "No on Prop AA."
Here are photos from the first free-joint rally in Denver.
No on Proposition AA press release:
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More from our Marijuana archive: "Photos: Free joint giveaway on Pearl Street Mall a mellow event."