Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has presented a proposal to the
Denver City Council to spend tax money from recreational cannabis sales in
order to hire 22 new employees to help expand the industry. The $3.35 million in
tax revenues would be used to expand business regulation and licensing as well
as promote youth and public safety education. Nearly $750 thousand dollars of
his proposal would focus on youth and public education.
So far this year, Colorado has made over $18 million dollars
in tax revenue from the cannabis industry. In the month of April, the state
broke records bringing in more than $5 million in taxes. The money being used
is the tax money collected from the additional 3.5 percent voter approved
Denver city tax that exists on top of the 17.9 percent state tax in the city. The
city of Denver is projected to earn $5 million this year from the additional
tax. The proposal calls to use $3.5 million from that funding.
The Mayors proposal focuses on putting the money back into
regulating the industry to make it safer and putting some aside for youth
intervention. The proposal budgets for over $400,000 funding to be given to the
Denver Police Department, the Denver Fire Department, and the City Attorney’s
office with the largest chunk of money being focused on Children’s Affairs.
The original proposal calls to hire 22 full- and part-time
employees that would work in several areas. Some of the focuses of the business
regulation positions included: Lab testing, licensing, police investigations and
safety inspections. City inspectors would help to regulate and educate local
labs and edible manufacturers. The plan includes a “Know the Law” public
awareness campaign that promotes responsible cannabis use.
Due to the need to enforce pubic cannabis restrictions, the
police have seen a 900 percent increase in seized cannabis that they have to
store. To deal with these costs and more, the proposal asks for $410,000 to go
to law enforcement. Also funded with that money, the department would be able
to hire a detective and an excise sergeant.
The Denver Fire Department was allotted $476,400 in the
proposal to help them offset costs for increased activity. With more people
using dabbing rigs at home, home fires from butane torches and explosions have
With the first year’s taxes now rolling in, the Denver City
Council wants to regulate and organize the industry. Tightening industry
regulations will set the path for a safer and more adjusted industry, but it
may put an end to the “Wild West” canna-culture that Colorado has been