Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Marijuana Policy Project: Legal Weed in Arizona Could Raise More Than $40M Annually for Education

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 12:30 PM

If the Marijuana Policy Project's initiative to legalize weed in Arizona lands on the ballot and passes next year, the state's education system could see a revenue of more than $40 million annually once the regulations are implemented, a press release from MPP says.

As a sign of good faith, MPP presented the state with a fake check for that amount during a news conference in Phoenix earlier today. 

“Generating revenue for our schools isn’t the only reason to pass this initiative, but it’s an important one,” says a statement by Lisa Olson, a Mesa teacher who participated in the news conference. “I support it because it will not only improve public education, but also public safety. Regulating marijuana would replace dealers on the streets with store clerks who ask for ID and only sell to adults.”

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol proposes taxing marijuana at 15 percent from licensed retail stores selling to adults 21 and older. A lot of that money will be used for implementation, and enforcement of regulations. All additional tax revenue collected, 40 percent would go to the state's Department  of Education for school construction, maintenance, and operating costs, and another 40 percent to the department's full-day kindergarten programs, the release says.

The estimate is based on marijuana sales in Colorado, but adjusted for differences in state population and marijuana consumption rates according to federal survey data, MPP says. Total retail marijuana sales in Colorado exceeded $253 million in the first six months of the year, generating roughly $16.6 million for public school construction, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue, MPP says. 

The group has to collect more than 150,000 valid signatures to get on the November 2016 ballot. The campaign has already collected about 60,000 total signatures since May.

“We’re finding a lot of support among parents,” says J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “They don’t only see it as more money for schools, but also more control over marijuana. Marijuana should be sold by businesses that pay taxes and follow laws, not by cartels and criminals that evade them.”

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