Boulder’s marijuana sales not living up to city’s cost projections

The expected rush of recreational marijuana industry activity in the city of Boulder hasn’t materialized, and, as a result, much of the $473,000 budgeted for oversight hasn’t been spent.

And it likely won’t be spent, city officials said.

“It’s been more of a steady, staggered approach,” said Bob Eichem, the city’s chief financial officer.

The City Council had made a supplemental budget appropriate to cover items such as forensic accounting services, police overtime, fire inspections and licensing.

The expected costs were to be paid from an estimated $2 million in tax revenue from new recreational marijuana businesses.

Projections for marijuana revenue are closer to $1.5 million by year’s end.

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Eichem said legal expenses have been absorbed within the City Attorney’s Office, while there has not been enough financial data from enough businesses to develop the forensic accounting system the city plans to use to make sure there is no diversion of marijuana to the black market or other illegal practices.

The city still plans to develop a forensic accounting program to audit marijuana businesses, but that won’t happen until next year, Eichem said.

The city did hire two new licensing clerks, who were cross-trained in other licensing procedures, and the city spent less than $3,000 out of $400,000 in city manager’s contingency on security changes related to the fact that marijuana is a cash business.

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