In a letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper and state legislators, the group said they fear “the potential for the passage of marijuana laws which are a grave disservice to the public.”
“We have strong concerns that if Amendment 64 is not implemented properly, we will become the nation’s supplier of choice marijuana — including the organized crime and corresponding violence that will go hand in hand with Colorado’s role as a marijuana supplier.”
The letter was sent on behalf of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, the Colorado District Attorneys Council, the County Sheriffs of Colorado and the Colorado Drug Investigators Association.
Colorado voters legalized recreational use of marijuana with the passage of Amendment 64 in November. Since then the state legislature has been trying to figure out how to regulate the new industry including setting limits to driving under the influence, sales taxes, police training and other issues.
Developing rules has been a partisan fight that includes law enforcement agencies and marijuana advocates.
On Tuesday the statehouse gave final approval to a taxation plan for legal marijuana on a party-line vote.
Lawmakers agreed to set an excise tax rate of 15 percent and a sales tax rate of 10 percent, down from the initial proposal of 15 percent, on top of the existing 2.9 percent state sales tax and other local taxes.
Under the proposal, which got initial approval from the House Monday afternoon, lawmakers would have the ability to ratchet the sales tax rate up to 15 percent if necessary in the future.
Republicans worried that the combined sin tax of close to 40 percent would be too high to keep marijuana buyers away from the black market and might not even be approved by voters, who must approve the final taxation rates that lawmakers agree to.
House Bill 1318 now moves to the Senate.
The companion legislation, House Bill 1317, which lays out the regulatory framework itself, passed the House Monday on a final vote of 35-29. It is now being considered by the Senate.
The group wants the Legislature to set a 5-nanogram per liter standard for driving under the influence of marijuana. They also want money for police training to help identify when a child might be in danger if a parent was high and how to determine if someone was impaired.
“It appears to us that there are members of the General Assembly who believe that the legalization of marijuana means few, if any, restrictions on its use, even when that use endangers public safety,” the letter said.
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