Thursday, April 10, 2014

‘Feeding frenzy’ over $20 million in pot cash could sharply cut youth prevention

The promise of a flood of pot cash to fund youth prevention and treatment programs is in jeopardy after lawmakers decided Tuesday to spend just $20 million and wait until mid-2015 to see how much the state actually nets before handing out any additional marijuana revenues.
That decision to pare spending  buys Colorado officials more time to determine if they will have to refund millions in pot revenues because of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, a 1992 voter-approved measure that requires government entities to return excess cash unless voters specifically allow them to keep it
Now, a fierce fight is expected over how to spend the $20 million that JBC analysts predict the state will collect by the end of July 1, when a new fiscal year starts.
Unless the six members of the JBC can agree unanimously on exactly how to split that money, they will have to send a marijuana tax spending bill to the House and Senate where lobbyists are salivating over grabbing shares of the new pot funds.
“Let the feeding frenzy begin,” said Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen.
Gerou wants an immediate focus on youth prevention, but worries colleagues will instead fund pet projects that could be unrelated to marijuana use.
By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon
For the rest of the story, go to Health News Colorado.
For more information on marijuana, go to colorado.gov/marijuana

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