Colorado should spend nearly $100 million on substance-abuse prevention in the next fiscal year, Governor John Hickenlooper said in a letter to legislative budget writers this week as he prepares to set spending priorities.

Hickenlooper said sales and excise taxes in the next fiscal year for both retail and medical marijuana could total $98 million for the state. The figure is far beyond the $70 million that pot sales were expected to earn Colorado. According to the governor’s spending plan, money would be earmarked for a litany of programs that include substance-abuse prevention targeted at children. “We view our top priority as creating an environment where negative impacts on children from marijuana legalization are avoided completely,” Hickenlooper wrote.

As part of the governor’s plan, he proposed spending $45.5 million for youth-use prevention, $40.4 million for substance-abuse treatment, and $12.4 million for public health. Included in that money is a $7 million proposal for an additional 105 beds in residential treatment centers; $5.8 million for a “statewide media campaign on marijuana use,” and $1.9 million to the Colorado Department of Transportation to highlight the state’s marijuana blood-limit standards for drivers. “This package represents a strong yet cautious first step” for regulating pot, the governor wrote.

CBS-4 reported the “pot tax plan doesn’t include an additional 15 percent pot excise tax, of which $40 million a year already is designated for school construction. The governor projected the full $40 million to be reached next year.”

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