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Spend or save? Marijuana tax debate far from settled

By: Associated Press
April 14, 2014 Updated: April 14, 2014 at 5:55 pm
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photo - FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2013 file photo, a marijuana plant grows at the River Rock marijuana growing facility in Denver. After months of uncertainty about marijuana and its tax potential, Colorado lawmakers started work April 8, 2014 deciding how to spend pot taxes. Voters have already decided to spend the first $40 million on school construction, but anything beyond that is up to lawmakers to appropriate. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)
FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2013 file photo, a marijuana plant grows at the River Rock marijuana growing facility in Denver. After months of uncertainty about marijuana and its tax potential, Colorado lawmakers started work April 8, 2014 deciding how to spend pot taxes. Voters have already decided to spend the first $40 million on school construction, but anything beyond that is up to lawmakers to appropriate. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file) 

DENVER — Colorado's legal pot industry may be booming, but state lawmakers aren't sure how to spend the windfall.

A legislative budget committee decided not to vote Monday on a $54 million plan from Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper to spend marijuana revenues on education and outreach. The governor wants to spend recreational pot taxes to fund everything from increased drug-prevention outreach to a new study on marijuana use by pregnant women.

But lawmakers from both parties fear uncertainty in the marijuana industry. The budget committee grilled an administration official about the pot-spending plan. Lawmakers said they are worried about volatility and yo-yo pot revenues. They are considering a bill to delay most marijuana spending a year.

The governor's budget forecasters are more bullish on the pot industry than lawmakers.

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