Why Would the Legislature be willing to commit a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 242 when it comes to implementing Amendment 64?
For those of you that have read the Amendment passed by the voters of Colorado it would seem straight forward. (1)(a)In the interest of the efficient use of law enforcement resources, enhancing revue for public purposes...declare that the use of Marijuana should be legal... and Taxed in a manner similar to Alcohol. Then in (10)(b) In the interest of health and public safety....Marijuana should be regulated in a manner similar to Alcohol so that:. Seems straight forward, even a child would tell you "Just like Alcohol" mommy.
But then comes the recommendations from Governor Hickenlooers handpicked "Task Force", to tell us that marijuana should be regulated just like medical marijuana, using Vertical Integration. After the news media informed the public that US Attorney General Holder had been in contact with the Governor Hickenlooper and Jack Finlaw the Governor's general Counsel announced at the December 17, 2012 Task Force first meeting that the Task Force will look into regulating Marijuana in a manor other than like alcohol.
Sure enough Jack Finlaw speaks and the Task Force makes the recommendations that ignores the plain text of the amendment. The Task Force does not even mentioning in its final report the option of implementing marijuana regulations just like alcohol. They did mention in 1.2 - State Run Model of the final report possibility of have the government operate state run stores for adult-use marijuana. What a choice, both recommendations are in violation of the new amendment to the state constitution.
So why would they do this? Just recommending that the Colorado State Legislature implement a regulation scheme that is in direct violation of the new amendment is just in your face power grab. Remember in politics "money is the mother's milk of politics". The answer is just "follow the money".
Let's review what happened, so Eric Holder calls the governor and then Governor Hickenlooers appoints a Task Force that issues recommendations that violates the plain text of the amendment and recommend vertical integration. Why vertical integration you ask? From Wikipedia, it states that " A monopoly produced through vertical integration is called a vertical monopoly.".[i][ii] Vertical integration creates a monopoly from those that have the money to purchase the license and then fund the enterprise along with the cost of the regulations.
At the Joint committee on Amendment 64 implementation there was testimony stating that the regulations for vertical integration in the medical marijuana industry had driven many start up dispensaries out of business. The medical marijuana regulations are detrimental to the market place and has had the effect of only having the deep pocket dispensaries able to stay in business.
It has been said that the current Medical Marijuana Dispensaries have hired the lobby firm used by Xcel Energy to lobby the Task Force and Legislature to ensure vertical integration is passed and giving them exclusive right to the licenses for recreational marijuana. Sure enough right there in the Task Force recommendations Vertical Integration it gives current dispensaries exclusive right to licensees. They will say that they put in a sunset review after three years. I am sure that in three years the review by the Colorado legislature will just rubber stamp once again vertical integration or vertical monopoly.
Amendment 64 was supported by 55% of the citizen to legalize a substance that has never killed anyone. Unlike alcohol, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription drugs, the largest killer of them all. Everyone knows someone that smokes marijuana or have personally used marijuana in their life. So the citizens of Colorado passed Amendment 64 to decriminalize a substance that has not killed anyone or destroy any families. By the prosecution of those that use and possess marijuana has the destruction of families taken place.
Now here comes the regulation that will only prolong the underground black market for marijuana. The amount of taxes that the politicians believe will be collected will never materialize. So then the true goal of the new regulation must be to subvert the free market and ensure that the profits from the illegal market of marijuana will still go to the same group that has always benefitted from marijuana being illegal.
So now what do we do?
We have three choices. Our first choice is to sit back and do nothing. Thus allowing the powers that be, once again profit from the new regulations. Our second choice is to fight the new regulations in the political arena. But we know that is a losing proposition in the future just as it is today. Money is the mother's milk of politics. The average citizens are not organized enough and only money talks in the political arena.
Our only choice has to be in the courts using the civil rights laws, specifically 18 U.S.C. § 242 - Deprivation of rights under color of law. Since Amendment 64 is part of the constitution of Colorado, it is a civil right. The implementation of Amendment 64 is straight forward. In the text of the amendment it lays out how the new amendment is to be regulated. The only job the legislature has is to create the regulations that will implement amendment 64 as written.
So how would 18 U.S.C. § 242 apply and what does it say?
18 U.S.C. § 242 - Deprivation of rights under color of law
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
Now from the FBI's website concerning 18 U.S.C. § 242
Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242
Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law
This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S.
This law further prohibits a person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to willfully subject or cause to be subjected any person to different punishments, pains, or penalties, than those prescribed for punishment of citizens on account of such person being an alien or by reason of his/her color or race.
Acts under "color of any law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority; provided that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under "color of any law," the unlawful acts must be done while such official is purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. This definition includes, in addition to law enforcement officials, individuals such as Mayors, Council persons, Judges, Nursing Home Proprietors, Security Guards, etc., persons who are bound by laws, statutes ordinances, or customs.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.[iii]
18 U.S.C. § 242 will be a powerful tool to bring to justice those that have and will blatantly violate the plain text of the new amendment. To believe that the politicians in power and the behind the scenes elite's will submit to political pressure from the citizens is just folly. The question now is will the courts allow a civil right law suit move forward, only time will tell.
To sit back and do nothing would be the biggest mistake of all. This illegal regulation that is most certain to pass the Colorado State Senate and House must be met head on. And not at the ballot box but in the courts with a civil rights law suit.
So who should be named in the law suit? Governor Hickenlooper, Jack Finlaw, All the members of the Task Force and every Senator and House representative that votes for the new regulation, that is repugnant to Amendment 64. Since the new regulations will affect all the citizens of Colorado, the civil rights law suit should moved to be a class action law suit.