Proposition 205, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, could be a boon for the state’s public education system, with the potential of bringing in $55 million a year should it win at the ballot box on Nov. 8
Sen. Martin Quezada said, on the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol website, Arizona schools are in desperate need of funding.
Will Humble, former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, discussed Prop. 205 at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix recently.
“Rather than trying to persuade voters one way or another, our role would be to provide resources,” Humble said.
According to Humble, Prop. 205 will allow adults 21 and older to possess a maximum of one ounce of marijuana. Under the bill, marijuana can only be consumed in private. Public use of the drug will remain illegal.
Adults may also grow up to six marijuana plants. However, the plants will be capped at 12 per residence.
These regulations will be overseen by a new agency, the Arizona Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control. It would mainly oversee production, licensing and tracking.
A 15 percent excise tax will be placed on all retail marijuana sales, Humble said. Eighty percent of the tax revenue will be given to the Department of Education for school construction and full-day kindergarten programs. The remaining 20 percent will be given to the Department of Health Services.
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee predicted Arizona school districts will receive a total of $55,674,800 a year. According to the statute, half of this money will be used to support full-day kindergarten programs. The other half will be used to fund general costs for kindergarten-12th grade.
An additional $13,918,700 will be given to the Arizona Department of Health Services. This money will be used to raise public education about marijuana, alcohol and other substances.
An example of this system can be seen in Colorado. Within the past year, Colorado generated $35 million in marijuana tax revenue to invest in public education, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. The $35 million was used to upgrade old school buildings.
However, there is still not much research on the long term effects of marijuana.
If Prop. 205 is passed, retail marijuana will be available by March 2, 2018. Humble added there will be a maximum of about 150 retail dispensaries across Arizona.
“Marijuana sales are going to keep taking place regardless of whether this initiative passes or fails. But only if it passes will they raise tens of millions of dollars each year for public education in Arizona,” Sen. Quezada said, to the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol website.