Colorado lawmakers struggle to allocate marijuana tax revenue after lower than expected estimates

DENVER - State lawmakers must decide how to spend tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales, however revenue estimates are now being revised.

"The projection was $67 million, now there have been some questions about whether that projection is going to stay true or not," said Rep. Chrisanta Duran, D-Denver.
 
So now, lawmakers are going to operate on a $20 million plan, insisting they will only spend money that's already in state hands.

A list of potential programs has been established -- including a marijuana DUI registry, a youth prevention program, even helping out with the general fund.
             
"Everybody is seeing a new pot of money and they're sort of lining up at the trough, but the resources are not that great and there are going to be some difficult choices to make early on," said Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver.

Lawmakers acknowledged the lobbyists sitting in at Tuesday's hearing may all make pleas for the funds because the new money available may not have to spent solely on pot-related projects.
          
"They're going to be expanding the ways marijuana dollars can be spent. That's going to increase the food fight even more," said Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen.

Lawmakers hope to have a preliminary appropriations structure in place by the end of the week.

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