Marijuana: Did anti-pot-tax group break campaign law with joint giveways?

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In Toro's view, the joint giveaways themselves are legal, since the amount of cannabis in question is well under the one-ounce limit cited in Amendment 64. But the total amount was clearly much more than that, since hundreds of joints were dispensed at both events.

If the donors want to remain anonymous because they fear self-incrimination, "they could file a report saying they're not disclosing because of the Fifth Amendment," Toro maintains. "But the report doesn't say that, either. It says 'one cent.' And it's not a license to make something up -- to report something to the government as what's happening is not incriminating.

"We're not the police," Toro emphasizes, "and we're not looking to get anyone indicted. If herb is going out the back door of a dispensary, that speaks to the situation of regulation in Colorado, but what we're interested in is that the people who made the donations be disclosed. And this isn't just my opinion. It's Colorado law."

As for possible punishment for the No on Prop AA campaign, Toro says, "there could be fines" -- perhaps of $50 per day until disclosure is made. "But what really matters is not the fine. It's the information that voters have at the poling booth. Voters deserve to know who's supporting a campaign either by donations or in-kind contributions."

Literally in-kind contributions in this case.

"I know there are possible criminal implications," Toro acknowledges, "but that's not our goal. We're not the drug police. We're focused on campaign finance and transparency in government. And that's what this is about."

Continue for Rob Corry's response to the Colorado Ethics Watch complaint.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts