All of the naysayers waiting for the demise of Colorado’s recreational marijuana market have just lost a billion dollar bet. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper presented a budget proposal on Wednesday that predicts the state’s newfound stoner commerce is set to generate $1 billion in sales before the summer of 2015.
Sadly, the governor has a “cause and cure” mentality, as his proposal comes armed with a tax scheme that dictates spending $45.5 million, nearly half of the state’s projected $103.5 million in legal weed tax revenue, on anti-drug propaganda. In addition to this nonsense, the governor’s budget has also allocated $40.4 million for substance abuse treatment, $12.4 million for public health and another $5 million for law enforcement and regulatory oversight.
Governor Hickenlooper’s decision to use marijuana tax money to fund prohibition efforts has many pot-proponents angered, but not surprised. During the rise of Amendment 64, the voter-approved initiative that legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, the governor never once offered any support. In fact, last month, with the state’s recreational sales officially off-and-running, Hickenlooper told the New York Times that smoking pot “Makes you slow down and clumsy,” adding “I wouldn't do it even if I was completely by myself in the forest or whatever."
Last November, Colorado voters gave their approval on a 15 percent excise tax and a 10 percent sales tax to be applied to recreational marijuana sales. And while it is true the initial $40 million is required to be spent on school construction, Hickenlooper’s suggests additional marijuana taxes be used to “protect public safety and health and to prevent underage use.”
While marijuana supporters work diligently to develop a profitable recreational pot market, one that not only puts a stranglehold on the illegal trade, but also creates jobs and offers economic relief, our elected officials are busy developing swindle tactics to piss away millions of dollars often-needy communities have earned.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.