Ed Sealover | Denver Business Journal Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (left) and Republican challenger Bob Beauprez agreed on a few issues during a Sept. 30, 2014 debate, one of them being the need to crack down on residents who are getting medical-marijuana cards without medical necessity
Oct 7, 2014
Denver Business Journal - Regardless of who Colorado’s governor is in 2015, the state is likely to crack down on residents seeking medical marijuana cards in order to increase the amount of tax revenue coming in from retail marijuana sales.
Both Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican challenger Bob Beauprez said during a Denver Post debate on Tuesday that they believe a number of residents are falsely claiming medical cards in order to avoid paying the higher taxes required to buy retail marijuana.
And both candidates in what is shaping up to be a neck-and-neck race said they would support measures making it more difficult to get these cards.
Retail marijuana, which became legal on Jan. 1 following the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012, is taxed
at a rate of 27 percent, while medical marijuana carries a tax rate of just 2.9 percent.
State officials estimated that many medical-marijuana users would simply switch to buying on the retail market, but statewide tax revenues for retail sales have come in below projections, leading to speculation that a lot of people are sticking to their medical cards.
Debate panelists on Tuesday asked both candidatess if the state should tighten the process for getting medical-marijuana
permits, and both of them agreed that they should.
“I think when you have a system with clear rules, you need to make sure it doesn’t get abused,” Hickenlooper said. “The challenge here is that a very small number of doctors are writing prescriptions for a large number of people.”
“It’s being abused, and it’s being abused intentionally,” Beauprez said.