Those who supported marijuana legalization and those who opposed it sent the same message to Colorado voters on Thursday: Everyone backs the pot tax.
Speaking separately, people from marijuana advocates to an organizer of a group concerned about marijuana legalization to the state's pot-skeptical governor urged voters to approve a tax on recreational marijuana sales that will be on November's ballot. The tax plan was put there by Colorado lawmakers as a way to pay for regulations on recreational marijuana stores.
Both the tax proposal and the regulations were approved on the legislature's final day Wednesday.
"I'll certainly promote the marijuana question," Gov. John Hickenlooper said. "We need to make sure we have the resources to have a good regulatory framework to manage this."
What no one on Thursday committed to doing, however, was to put up money funding a campaign on behalf of the taxes. Mason Tvert — one of the authors of Amendment 64, the marijuana-legalization initiative that prompted the legislature's bills on pot-shop regulations and taxes — said marijuana advocates would vocally support the taxes. He declined to say, however, whether they would pay for any ad time so that voters could hear that support.
"We will certainly be voicing our opinion that we support the tax measure," Tvert said. "I think everyone who wants to see this regulatory system fully funded has an obligation to voice their support."
The tax measure would place a 15 percent excise tax and an initial 10 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana. The excise tax was mentioned in Amendment 64. To comply with the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, though, it needs to be approved in a separate vote.
Supporters of the taxes say the money is needed to make sure Colorado's regulatory system succeeds in keeping marijuana out of the black market and the hands of children.
"There's got to be the taxes," said Diane Carlson, a representative of the group Smart Colorado, which is concerned about marijuana legalization's consequences. "That's one of the biggest concerns."
Carlson, though, said there would have to be more discussion in the group before Smart Colorado could commit to providing funding for a campaign.
Staff writer Kurtis Lee contributed to this report.