Lawmakers in Colorado on Monday asked an anti-marijuana campaign in Arizona to stop airing ads that they say contain false information about their state and could mislead voters who will be deciding on recreational legalization of the drug next week.
State Sen. Pat Steadman (D) and Democratic state Reps. Millie Hamner and Johnathan Singer wrote an email to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy leaders to call out ads the group has run. They say the TV spots contain “inaccurate and misleading statements” about the use of legal marijuana tax revenue in Colorado as well as rates of teen drug use.
“As members of the Colorado Legislature who played a central role in the budgeting and appropriation of marijuana tax revenues, we feel it is our duty to set the record straight so that voters in both [Arizona and Colorado] have accurate information about this subject,” the letter reads.
In an ad titled “Empty Promises,” two former Colorado school officials suggest that millions of dollars in tax revenue that were supposed to go to schools instead funded the regulation of the legal marijuana industry. Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb makes a similar claim in an ad titled “Mistake.”
“We can say with certainty that the claims about Colorado marijuana tax revenues featured in your committee’s ads range from highly misleading to wholly inaccurate,” the lawmakers write, citing multiple official state documents that illustrate their point.
More than $138 million was distributed to the state’s Department of Education for Colorado schools during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 fiscal years, according to a fact sheet produced by the department and an issue brief from Colorado Legislative Council staff. That figure significantly exceeds money distributed to fund the regulation of marijuana in the state, the lawmakers note. Moreover, $114 million of that Department of Education funding was distributed to the