Prominent local activist retires, and governor budgets $30.5 million marijuana refund 


Good night and good luck

Audrey Hatfield began her rise at the beginning of the medical marijuana boom in September 2010. Then as now, Hatfield battled epilepsy and other medical conditions, and found them alleviated by marijuana use. This led her to create Coloradans 4 Cannabis Patient Rights, with the modest ambition of creating a website and updating it a few times a week.

Since then, Hatfield has been at the center of many local developments, whether by opposing the limited language in Amendment 64 or protesting outside District Attorney Dan May's office any time a cannabis patient was targeted for prosecution. Even better, she says her group has raised some $11,000 for local patients who ultimately found a place for sliding-scale cannabis and all kinds of ancillary support.

But the effort has taken its toll, and Hatfield announced in a Facebook post last week on C4CPR's popular page that she's ready to dial it all the way down.

"While cannabis has been a blessing to me with my conditions, I can not continue to go at the pace I have been these last almost 5 years with my health at risk," she wrote. "Not with these conditions. Now, more than ever, I need time for myself and the time to take care of myself. Therefore, we will be discontinuing all previous services except for our new Patient Oil Program thru SoCo MMJ."

The latter is similar to the plant program, in which approved applicants can receive discounted cannabis concentrates. Those interested can still call 299-0874 for more information. Meanwhile: "We have been very blessed and could not have been as successful as we have been without your support," Hatfield says. "Many thanks to you all!"

Money (so they say)

Thanks to TABOR, which mandates excess tax revenue be returned to the people under certain circumstances, Gov. John Hickenlooper's new budget for the coming year includes an interesting item. Wrote Hickenlooper in his Nov. 3 letter to the Legislature, "[W]e have earmarked a liability in FY 2014-15 of $30.5 million to reflect the current forecast from Proposition AA taxes."

In other words, the state has to return the excess funds created by greater-than-expected marijuana sales, unless it asks voters for permission to keep the money. Whatever happens, the governor plans to leave the next move up to lawmakers, reported Denver's KMGH-TV.

"It will be important to engage the Legislature when the session begins on the issue of marijuana rebates," the TV station quoted Hickenlooper as saying, "and at this time, it would be unwise for the state to plan to spend any of those funds in advance of that discussion."

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