Steamboat police chief wants more of state's marijuana tax revenues

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— Steamboat Springs Police Chief Joel Rae said Thursday that he is one of many police officials in Colorado who is "disappointed" with how Gov. John Hickenlooper wants to spend marijuana tax revenues.

A letter dated Monday from the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police asks Hickenlooper to set aside 10 to 15 percent of the state's marijuana revenues for local law enforcement.

The Denver Post reported that a budget proposal Hickenlooper sent to the Legislature last month estimated marijuana revenues next fiscal year will be more than $133 million, but only a little more than $3 million is designated for statewide law enforcement and public safety programs.

Hickenlooper is proposing spending more than $85 million of the revenues on youth marijuana use prevention and addiction treatment.

The letter from the police chiefs included a prioritized list of funding needs to mitigate potential problems associated with the proliferation of marijuana in the state.

At the top of the list is providing funding that will allow police departments to train officers to better detect when a driver might be under the influence of marijuana.

Many of the officers at the Steamboat Springs Police Department already have received this training.

Rae said making sure people are not driving under the influence of marijuana is one of his priorities, and more funding would help them "arm our police officers with the training and tools to keep our roads safe."

"Road safety, street safety, highway safety is huge," Rae said.

Rae said that if all three potential retail marijuana businesses in Steamboat came online, they would each be paying about $9,000 annually to the city in license fees. The money goes into the city’s general fund.

"About half of it is really for the time and effort that we put into really monitoring the regulations of the up-and-coming businesses," Rae said.

More money would allow local police to address other concerns, Rae said.

"There are many aspects of it," Rae said. "Another piece of that is having resources in our schools to keep drugs out of our schools."

The letter to Hickenlooper specifically asks for funding to pay for investigations conducted by multijurisdictional drug task forces, such as the All Crimes Enforcement Team, which investigates drug crimes in Routt and Moffat counties.

Rae said the marijuana black market still is thriving locally, and Amendment 64 did not make it legal to traffic marijuana.

"It did not make it legal for everyone to grow marijuana and ship it to other states," Rae said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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Comments

Robert Chase 9 months, 2 weeks ago

You need to fire Rae -- he is an utter imbecile! Drivers' substitution of cannabis for alcohol has driven down traffic fatalities 9% in states that instituted medical cannabis laws (google "Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption"). The most authoritative meta-analysis of studies of driving under the influence of THC to date (google "Grotenhermen Developing limits for driving under cannabis") admits that no scientific basis exists for setting a standard for impairment with THC (which did not stop the scientific illiterates in control of Colorado from asserting one in law; it is however not a per se standard). If you look at the first graph in that paper (from an Australian study), you will see that blood levels of THC under 5 ng/ml of blood (what the State of Colorado claims indicates impairment) correlate with a lowered risk of accident.

Gov. Hack has already declared that none of the huge windfall to State revenue from our overtaxed dispensary system will go to meet Colorado's budgetary needs -- all is being sent straight back to the prohibitionist parasites we need to tear away from the public trough. With Colorado's traffic fatality rate dropping because of cannabis, $2,000,000 is to be spent trying to dissuade drivers from using it by means of threats. $45.5 million goes for supposed "drug abuse treatment" -- but that is construed to include the court-mandated "treatment" of minors caught with cannabis. Swine like Rae want millions more to train 11,000+ cops across Colorado to be so-called "Drug Recognition Experts" (DREs) -- this totally unscientific scam will not improve the qualification of police to do their jobs or make our roads safer. Rae insinuates that he is keeping cannabis out of schools, which is an outrageous lie.

Our very limited legalization of cannabis should save Colorado money; it is not an opportunity for greedy pigs like Rae to gorge themselves and their organizations. There is no factual basis for claiming that we are incurring any valid increased costs due to cannabis, and Rae should be fired for suggesting otherwise, if for no other reason. Tourists should be warned about Steamboat Springs, Estes Park, and other burgs with DRE-enthusiasts like Rae heading their police departments; any town stupid enough to allow their like to prey upon visitors deserves not a single one. Boycott Steamboat Springs!

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Scott Wedel 9 months, 2 weeks ago

If SB police has a real need for additional money then why doesn't he expect the city council to allocate it's additional money to meet his needs?

Seems pretty weird that he doesn't trust the city to fund what he claims are critical needs. If that is the case then shouldn't Chief Rae be focusing on the local political situation instead of asking for state money?

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Ken Mauldin 9 months, 2 weeks ago

It's reasonable to expect some share of state revenues that originate within the city to address issues related to the taxable activity (in this case cannabis.) Why should all of the cannabis tax collected through state taxes within the city go to fund the related issues in front range cities?

There's certainly an on-going debate on the science behind impairment while driving. It's a fact that people respond differently to cannabis and some drivers represent a danger to the rest of us on the roads. How to best respond to the disparity of affect is the $64,000 question.

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Scott Wedel 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Ken,

But money is being returned to the city government. The complaint of the police chiefs is that their local governments are deciding to use the money for other purposes than giving it to their departments. The police chiefs are asking the governor to overrule local government and give money directly to their police departments.

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Fred Duckels 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I was thinking of putting my two cents in here but this blog seems reserved for MENSA members only.

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Ken Mauldin 9 months, 2 weeks ago

...and that was your two cents worth. The world loves a smart-ass ;)

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jerry carlton 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Robert Chase Great Idea! You and your stoner buddies boycott Steamboat! We have plenty of drunks and stoners. Do not need any more of either!

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