Pot tax protesters hand out thousands of joints at Civic Center Park

DENVER — As many as 4,000 marijuana cigarettes were passed out free of charge during Monday’s anti-Proposition AA rally in Denver.

Organizers of the 11 a.m. rally at Civic Center Park are trying to build opposition to the ballot measure which would impose a 25 percent state tax on recreational marijuana once it’s sold legally in Colorado in 2014.

“The marijuana industry wants to pay taxes and supports these issues very well but these measures would simply be too far and out of reach for people who consume marijuana,” said Miguel Lopez with the “No on Proposition AA Campaign.”

Lopez, who believes the industry is already overtaxed and over-regulated, supervised a joint-rolling session at a Denver park on Sunday afternoon.

He said Monday’s marijuana distribution would help demonstrate that an untaxed black market in pot could flourish if Proposition AA is passed in November.

Revenues from the new tax would help fund school construction and marijuana industry regulation.

“We believe that this is good for business because it sets the stage for responsible business owners to operate within a well-regulated business environment,” said Norton Arbelaez of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group.

Lopez said joints would only be handed to those over 21 years of age with a valid I.D. Consumption of pot during Monday’s rally would not be encouraged.