Overview of Amendment 64

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Overview of Amendment 64

The initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol, Amendment 64, will appear on the November 2012 ballot in Colorado.

In summary, Amendment 64:

  • makes the personal use, possession, and limited home-growing of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older;
  • establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol; and
  • allows for the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp. 

In particular, Amendment 64 removes all legal penalties for personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and for the home-growing of up to six marijuana plants, similar to the number allowed under current medical marijuana laws, in an enclosed locked space. 

The initiative creates legal marijuana establishments – retail stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities – and directs the Department of Revenue to regulate a system of cultivation, production (including infused products), and distribution.  Under the provisions of the measure, the Department will license marijuana establishments at the state level, and should it fail to act, localities will be permitted to issue such licenses.  Localities will have the right to ban marijuana establishments through either their elected representative bodies, or through referred or citizen-initiated ballot measures.

The general assembly will be required to enact an excise tax of up to 15 percent on the wholesale sale of non-medical marijuana applied at the point of transfer from the cultivation facility to a retail store or product manufacturer.  The first $40 million of revenue raised annually will be directed to the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund. This new tax must be approved by a majority of voters in a statewide general election in accordance with the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). The general assembly will also be required to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp.

What Amendment 64 Will Do                                                   

  • The initiative will allow law enforcement to focus on violent and otherwise harmful crimes, as opposed to adults 21 and older who are simply possessing small amounts of marijuana. About 10,000 Coloradans are arrested for marijuana-related offenses every year, about 94 percent of which are for possession – and virtually every one of them takes up the time and resources of police, prosecutors, judges, and court staff.
  • Regulating marijuana like alcohol will take marijuana sales out of the hands of cartels and criminals, and redirect that money toward legitimate, taxpaying Colorado businesses. It will also reduce youth access to marijuana by requiring that consumers are asked for proof of age prior to purchasing the product.
  • Passage of Amendment 64 will bolster Colorado’s economy with significant new tax revenue and job creation – the Colorado Center on Law and Policy found that passage of Amendment 64 could produce more than $120 million annually in new revenue and savings within the first five years.
  • Stop the arrest and prosecution of adults who are simply choosing to use a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and to the broader community.

What Amendment 64 Will NOT Do                                                 

  • The initiative does not change existing laws regarding driving under the influence of marijuana. It is currently illegal to drive while impaired by marijuana, and it will remain illegal if Amendment 64 passes. The initiative also ensures the legislature maintains the ability to develop new driving-related policies as it sees fit.
  • The initiative does not change the ability of employers to maintain their current employment policies, nor does it prevent them from creating whatever policies they see fit. If employers do not currently allow off-site marijuana use by employees, they can continue to prohibit it if Amendment 64 is adopted.
  • The initiative does not change existing medical marijuana laws for patients, caregivers, and medical marijuana businesses. Medical marijuana will be exempt from the excise tax mentioned above. Consumer privacy will be enhanced because individuals will only need to provide proof of age to purchase marijuana.  
  • The initiative does not increase or add penalties for any current marijuana-related infractions.

Click here to read the ballot language and full text of Amendment 64.

Click here to see a list of individuals and organizations that support Amendment 64.



The Campaign

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is the driving force behind Amendment 64, a 2012 statewide ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition and regulate marijuana like alcohol in Colorado.  It is a locally based effort being carried out by a broad and growing coalition of activists, organizations, businesses, and professionals throughout the state and across the nation.

Click here to see a list of organizations and individuals that support Amendment 64.

Amendment 64, otherwise known as the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, will appear on the Colorado ballot during this year's presidential election and will be decided on November 6, 2012. It makes personal adult use of marijuana legal, establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol, and allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Click here to read the full text of the initiative and the question as it will appear on the ballot.

Passage of this initiative will be historic, resulting in Colorado becoming the first state in the nation – and the first geographic area in the world – to make the possession, use, and regulated production and distribution of marijuana legal for adults.