Ritter Turns To MMJ Fund To Help Balance CO Budget
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Ritter Turns To MMJ Fund To Help Balance CO Budget
Posted by CN Staff on August 24, 2010 at 12:03:57 PT
By Tim Hoover, The Denver Post
Source: Denver Post
Colorado -- He opposed it as Denver's district attorney, but Gov. Bill Ritter is now turning to medical marijuana to heal the state budget.The plan Ritter announced Monday to bridge a nearly $60 million shortfall in the current budget year relies on $9 million from the state's Medical Marijuana Program Cash Fund, financed by fees on patients who get cards to use medical pot. 
With the number of applicants for medical-marijuana cards expected to double to 150,000 this year, there will still be about $1 million left in the fund even after $9 million is swept from it.Ritter, a Democrat, said that no matter what he thought about medical marijuana as a prosecutor when voters approved it under Amendment 20 in 2000, it's legal now, and he has a budget to balance."I was not in favor of medical marijuana, but I'm also a lawyer and the governor," Ritter said, "and I believe in the law. And it's the law in this state."The state used $3 million from the fund last year to help balance the budget. Even so, Ritter said using the pot money was just a one-time solution."Truly, we find ourselves in difficult, difficult budget circumstances," he said.Most of Ritter's budget balancing involves temporary fixes. Snipped   Complete Article: Denver Post (CO)Author: Tim Hoover, The Denver PostPublished: August 24, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Denver Post CorpWebsite: openforum denverpost.comCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on August 25, 2010 at 20:16:45 PT
Governor Wants to Steal Patient Registry Fees 
Cannabis Therapy Institute's Patient
Advocacy Project.August 24, 2010Governor Wants to Steal Patient Registry Fees to Balance BudgetHas Ritter Become Addicted to Cannabis Revenues?{Denver) -- Just weeks after the state received an $8 million windfall in
application fees from medical marijuana retail centers, Colorado Governor
Bill Ritter wants more money from medical marijuana patients, this time
from a Constitutionally-protected patient Registry fee fund.Ritter announced on Monday that he plans to ask the legislature to divert
$9 million in medical marijuana patient fees from the Medical Marijuana
Program Cash Fund to the state General Fund. However, this action would
violate both the Colorado Constitution and Colorado Revised Statutes.Article XVIII, Section 14 (3) (i) of the Colorado Constitution (Colorado's
Medical Marijuana Amendment) states that the medical marijuana Registry
fees shall only go to pay "any direct or indirect administrative costs" of
the program.In addition, Colorado Revised Statute 25-1.5-106 (13) (a) states: "All
moneys credited to the medical marijuana program cash fund and all interest
derived from the deposit of such moneys that are not expended during the
fiscal year shall be retained in the fund for future use and shall not be
credited or transferred to the general fund or any other fund."This means the money that patients pay to the Registry cannot be
appropriated for other uses. It can only be used for administrative costs
to run the Registry.---------------------------------------------
Call Governor Bill Ritter
Phone: (303) 866-2471
---------------------------------------------"It's illegal, it's unconstitutional and it's wrong. These are suffering
patients. They don't have a lot of money, and the state government should
not be balancing their budget on their backs," said attorney Robert J.
Corry, Jr. in an interview with KUSA-TV in Denver."Even if the Governor got the state legislature to approve changing the
statute to allow this transfer, as they did earlier this year for the
amount of $3 million, they still would not be able to get around the
Constitution," says Kathleen Chippi, a Nederland medical marijuana patient.
"Only a vote of the people can amend the Constitution.""This is just another example of the state persecuting cannabis patients,"
says K. Evan Rude, a patient advocate from the American Medical Marijuana
Standards Association located in Boulder County. "Governor Ritter built his
career as a prosecutor and as Governor putting people in jail for marijuana
crimes. He has been vehemently against medical marijuana for his entire
career. But now he feels it's OK to take money from the sick and dying
people who use cannabis as medicine to balance the state budget. He should
be ashamed of himself."------------------------------
------------------------------The Department of Public Health and Environment currently has a backlog of
over 70,000 patient applications, each containing a check for $90.00 from a
patient, totally more than $6 million in uncashed checks. The average wait
for the state to process the simple two-page patient application is 7 to 9
months. The state should work on reducing the backlog of patient
applications and use the Registry fees to help patients. Instead, the money
will go into the General Fund, and the funds may eventually be used to
prosecute and imprison patients and their physicians for medical marijuana
"crimes".Evan Dreyer, the Governor's spokesperson, issued a written statement on the
issue, "As with all cash-fund transfers, this specific proposed transfer is
contingent upon the legislature changing the language in the statute so we
can make the transfer to the general fund. We did this with the Medical
Marijuana Program Fund earlier this year when the legislature was still in
session (for $3 million). The legislature's Joint Budget Committee will be
asked to OK this $9 million transfer later this year, and then the full
legislature will review it in January."Dreyer could not explain why the Governor felt that he could override the
Constitutional clause that assures the money will only be used for
administrative costs of running the Registry program.Please call Governor Ritter and your state representatives and senators to
protest the transfer of these funds out of the Registry. This money is
earmarked for the patients in the Constitution and the Governor and
legislature should not try to steal these funds.*CALL THE GOVERNOR*
Governor Bill Ritter
136 State Capitol
Denver, CO 80203-1792
Phone: (303) 866-2471
Fax: (303) 866-2003Email Form: a copy of any correspondence to: info*BECOME A CTI SPONSOR*
This press release was written by the Cannabis Therapy Institute's Patient
Advocacy Project.
Please donate to support our mission of patient advocacy and activism.
Provided as a Public Service by the:
Cannabis Therapy Institute
P.O. Box 19084
Boulder, CO 80308
Phone: 877-420-4205
Email: info 
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on August 24, 2010 at 16:13:57 PT
Cannabis: is good medicine.
They will use the money and become addicted to it; depending on it like a fix...  :and that's what it is, a fix. Cannabis can and will help fix what they have broken.Part of the way the system was broken is by prohibiting cannabis and the more cannabis is re-introduced back into the system the more cannabis will help fix the system.Government must now take its medicine.There must be a math equation which shows RE-legalization of the God-given plant will help fix everything.
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