Marijuana: John Hickenlooper's tax spending plan is anti-pot, pro-booze, advocates say
Doubts about whether demand for recreational marijuana would cover the cost of the program put in place to regulate its sale appear to have been unfounded, at least during its early stages.
Photos and more below.
Evidence comes via Governor John Hickenlooper, who's come up with a plan to spend recreational-pot tax revenues: $4.5 million this fiscal year and a heaping $99 million the next. But proponents of the amendment that made such sales possible are aghast at his proposal, which they call anti-pot and pro-booze.
There's some irony in Hickenlooper being the beneficiary of this windfall beyond his past as a tavern owner. He actively opposed Amendment 64, the measure that allows adults 21 and over to use and possess small amounts of marijuana. And while he reacted to the measure's passage with at least a modicum of humor, cracking that it was too soon to break out the Cheetos and Goldfish, he has since worked overtime to stress that he's no cheerleader for legal weed.
Last month, for instance, Hickenlooper talked pot with the New York Times' Maureen Dowd, and during the conversation, he said he hadn't smoked cannabis for decades because "it makes you slow down and clumsy," and emphasized that "I wouldn't do it even if I was completely by myself in the forest or whatever."
A meme that circulated shortly after Amendment 64's passage.
In addition, Hickenlooper denigrated the idea that the state should be dependent on tax revenue from a product that doesn't make the lives of people better even as he teased a campaign to keep teenagers from indulging.
This last plan has now been unveiled. We've included Hickenlooper's complete proposal below, but in general, his office suggests spending the aforementioned $100 million-plus, supplemented by "$29 million in enforcement money already planned for this year and next," like so:
• Youth marijuana use prevention and deterrence ($45.5 million);The reactions from Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert and attorney Brian Vicente, the most prominent backers of Amendment 64, aren't filled with atta-boys.
• Substance abuse treatment ($40.4 million);
• Public health ($12.4 million);
• Regulatory oversight ($1.8 million);
• Law enforcement and public safety ($3.2 million); and
• Statewide coordination ($200,000)
Continue for more about Governor John Hickenlooper's proposal for marijuana tax revenue spending, including responses from critics, photos and the document itself.