HCR2045 is a bill that would amend the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. In breaking down and analyzing the bill, the bill proposes, “establishing the medical marijuana classification of transaction privilege taxes and levies a tax of five percent of the tax base on that classification.” HCR2045, would also “require the Department of Health Services to provide grants from monies in the Medical Marijuana Fund.
Sounds reasonable (a little)
But why this new tax and what would it be used for? “For marijuana research studies on the safety and efficacy of using marijuana for medical purposes and the side effects of marijuana use.”
That might sound reasonable (a little). That is until this part, “with a specific focus on the relationship between marijuana use and schizophrenia and the correlation between marijuana use and violent behavior.
The real clincher
Wait, what! Then the real clincher, “Prohibits a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary from dispensing medical marijuana with a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of more than two percent.”
To summarize HCR2045’s goal is to tax medical cannabis patients 5% for correlation between marijuana use and schizophrenia and between marijuana use and violent behavior. And completely gut the AMMA by adding a 2% THC limit.
Not an ordinary bill
However, HCR2045, is not an ordinary bill. An ordinary bill goes through a committee. That committee votes on whether or not to move the bill to the House of Representatives floor. Once on the floor the House votes on whether the bill should move along to the Senate’s floor. If the bill passes the Senate’s floor, then it goes to the Governor’s desk, to be signed into law.
House Concurrent Resolution/ HCR 2045 is different. Instead of going to be signed by the governor, it becomes a proposition and moves to the election ballot, for voters to decide.
Mastermind behind HCR 2045
Who is the mastermind behind HCR 2045? It’s the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Russell (Rusty) Bowers. Rumor has it that when the speaker of the House brings a bill, that it might just be coming from the Governor himself. Bowers is a Republican from district 25 (Mesa).
On Thursday February 20th, 2020, the House safety Committee met on whether or not to move HCR2045 to the floor. It was a packed room full of well known faces in the cannabis community there to advocate against the bill.
Emotionally charged; educational
Supporter after supporter stood to give a timed one-minute speech. After a minute is up, you are cut off and told to either move along for the next person, or questioned by the panel. Doctors, cannabis industry, activities and patients against HCR 2045 gave emotionally charged yet educational speeches.
And where was Rep Bowers while all this back and forth was taking place? Clinging to his copy of Alex Berenson’s, “Tell Your Children”, published in 2019, as if it were the bible, and as if we were at church on Sunday.
According to Wikipedia:
“Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence is a 2019 book by Alex Berenson, denounced as alarmist and inaccurate by many in the scientific and medical communities because of his claims that cannabis use causes psychosis and violence.”
Referring to Propaganda
The title “TELL YOUR CHILDREN,” is ironically (not really) the subtitle of the legendary anti cannabis propaganda film, “REEFER MADNESS.” The book “Tell Your Children” is much like the 1930 movie, as both are bias against cannabis use.
Maybe Rep Bowers should have googled, “debunking, “Tell Your Children,” before drafting a bill based on its one-sided content. Besides many articles disproving the book, Drug Policy Alliance discredits its merits as well.
Nevertheless, when it became Rep Bowers time to speak he only sourced one reference for his argument, the book “Tell Your Children.”
Tallies added up,
Sadly, as the committee votes, tallies added up, HCR 2045 passed as is and will move on to the House of Representatives floor. There is talk about amending the bill to remove the 2% THC cap. Even Rep Bowers stated after the hearing in the hall outside that, “the 2% THC is out.”
Still a 5%tax increase on sick people, based on the studies in one book, sounds as if we are being charged to debunk it.
Upset by the outcome.