Medical marijuana issue causing budget concerns in state Health Dept.

Sep 30, 2016

Deputy state health officer Arvy Smith testifies to the Legislative Management Committee about the fiscal impacts if the medical marijuana law passes.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Representatives of the state Health Department say if the medical marijuana measure passes, it would be costly to administer and enforce.

It’s measure 5 on the November ballot.

Deputy state Health Officer Arvy Smith told the Legislative Management Committee – start-up costs would be about $1.4 million dollars. That would be for the remainder of the current two year budget period, which expires next June 30th. As for the upcoming two years,

"We had a total of $7.3 million, with 32 FTE, and revenue at $4.8 million, leaving an unfunded gap of $2.534 million," Smith told the Committee.

Smith saids some of the revenue would come from fees. She also told the Committee the Department will face a real problem – because if it passes, the measure requires it to be implemented within 30 days of the election.

"I have to say, that will be like, impossible," said Smith. "We do not have the money. We do not have the employees. I don't know how we're going to accomplish that, but we're going to need a little help."

The estimate cost for the measure will be posted on the Secretary of State’s Web site, with the full wording of the ballot measure.

Measure sponsors called an earlier cost estimate “fear-mongering.”