Colo. Gov. Ritter turns to medical-marijuana fund to help balance budget

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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.

Full Story: Ritter turns to medical-marijuana fund to help balance Colorado budget – The Denver Post