Guv: Spend 
weed revenue on deterrence

DENVER — Gov. John Hickenlooper would spend nearly $100 million in marijuana tax revenue on substance abuse treatment and programs to keep pot out of the hands of youth.

That, at least, is what the governor is proposing to legislative budget writers what should be done with some of the revenue the state expects to receive from the legal sale of marijuana.

“When the voters passed Amendment AA, it became the state’s obligation to implement it sensibly and responsibly, mindful of all Coloradans,” he said in a release. “We have strategies to do exactly that. Now, thanks to the revenues generated by AA, which voters passed last fall, we have the funding to put them in place.”

The governor’s proposal, made to the Legislature’s six-member Joint Budget Committee on Wednesday, calls for spending about $4.5 million this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and about $99 million in the next fiscal year.

The proposal calls for allocating about $45.5 million over the next two years to youth marijuana use prevention and deterrence programs, and $40.4 million for substance abuse treatment.

Other monies include $12.4 million for public health programs, $3.2 million for law enforcement and public safety efforts, and $1.8 million for regulatory oversight.

The ballot question called for imposing a 15 percent excise tax and a 10 percent sales tax on retail pot sales. Those taxes are in addition to the 2.9 percent sales tax the state already charges and any local sales taxes.

The state expects to collect about $133 million in pot tax revenue next year alone. The proposition requires that the first $40 million collected from the tax go toward public school construction. Additionally, the proposition calls for 15 percent of sales tax revenues from pot sales going to those communities that have them, doling out money based on a percentage of stores in those communities.

All communities in the Grand Valley have either banned such shops or placed moratoriums on them.


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