Wednesday, April 25, 2012

State offers lifeline to MMJ enforcement division

Posted By on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Representative Beth McCann
  • Representative Beth McCann

The Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division's cash problems are well-documented, but solutions thus far have been few and far between. In fact, only one solution has emerged: immediately hit up dispensary owners for fees they thought weren't due until months later. This has, of course, created a hardship, but look for more on that in next week's Independent.

In the meantime, state Reps. Beth McCann and Tom Massey, of Denver and Poncha Springs, respectively, are sending in the financial cavalry — or at least hope to do so.

As first reported by CBS4 in Denver, the pair will be introducing a bill in the House of Representatives, in the next few days, that would transfer, one time, almost $9 million out of a $10 million medical-marijuana account controlled by the Department of Public Health and Environment. It's funded by the fees paid by people applying to join the registry as patients: $5.7 million would go to the MMED to fill its budgetary hole, with $2 million in reserve, accessible only if the initial funds are burned through.

"And then, also, part of the bill is to put $2 million into a fund that’s in the Department of Public Health that deals with youth and prevention programs," says McCann in a phone conversation with the Indy. "So, trying to use some of that money to help kids, as they grow up, learn good behavior patterns."

McCann explains the reasons the funds are available to be transferred this way: "So the [registry] fee was $90. And they collected quite a bit of money to do all those processing, because they had so many applications in the beginning they got behind. And so they have now caught up and, as a result, have some excess funds in their fund — they’ve reduced the fee now to $35, but there is this excess money in there — so it made sense to me to take the money from the Department pf Public Health and move it over to the Department of Revenue."

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