Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (Andy Cross, Denver Post file)

Marijuana tax revenue: Colorado police chiefs seek more money

Colorado’s police chiefs are asking the state for more money to pay for marijuana enforcement, saying they are “disappointed” in Gov. John Hickenlooper’s plan for how to spend marijuana tax revenue.

In a letter sent to Hickenlooper earlier this week, the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police said the governor’s plan contains no money specifically designated for local law enforcement agencies. The letter asks Hickenlooper to support creating a grant program for police departments to cover extra costs related to marijuana legalization.

“Many of our local law enforcement agencies have diverted staff from other operations into marijuana enforcement, leaving gaps in other service areas as a direct result of marijuana legalization,” the letter states.

Among the things, the chiefs’ association says money could be used for: training officers to better identify stoned drivers, purchasing “oral fluid testing” equipment that could be used for research purposes at impaired-driving checkpoints and creating a statewide database of marijuana crimes.

The budget proposal Hickenlooper sent to the legislature last month predicts medical and recreational marijuana revenues of more than $133 million in the next fiscal year. Hickenlooper has proposed spending the bulk of the money — more than $85 million this fiscal year and next — on youth marijuana use prevention and addiction treatment. A little more than $3 million is designated for statewide law enforcement and public safety programs.

In an e-mailed response to the chiefs’ association, Department of Public Safety executive director Jim Davis asked for a meeting to learn more.

“We are confident that once we fully understand the needs and plans, we can submit and support supplemental funding requests,” Davis wrote.

This story was first published on