Arizona School Officials Endorse Marijuana Legalization Initiative

arizona marijuana legalization proposition 205

Statements below from leaders of local school district governing boards; officials are pointing to the success of a similar voter-approved law in Colorado, where marijuana tax revenues have exceeded predictions, schools are receiving the marijuana tax revenue that was promised, and the rate of teen marijuana use has remained unchanged and on par with national average

New video ad featuring local teacher, mother, and grandmother — viewable at http://bit.ly/2cDTASp — notes that raising money for schools ‘isn’t the only reason to regulate and tax marijuana, but it’s a good reason’

PHOENIX and TUCSON, Ariz. — Several Arizona school officials threw their support behind Prop. 205 on Thursday, highlighting the much-needed revenue that will be raised for K-12 education if voters approve the initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol.

The Yes on 205 campaign received endorsements from Jesus Rubalcava, who currently serves as president of the Gila Bend Unified School District Governing Board; Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board President Buck Crouch and Board Member Daniel Hernandez; Tolleson Union High School District Governing Board Vice President Devin Del Palacio; Balsz School District Governing Board Member Channel Powe; and State Sen. Martin Quezada, who is a member of the Pendergast Elementary School District Governing Board.

Some of the officials are pointing to the success of a similar ballot measure that was approved by voters in Colorado in 2012, which is generating more annual revenue for the state than predicted and fulfilling the promise of raising $40 million per year for public school construction. Colorado’s regulated marijuana system brought in more than $135 million in calendar year 2015, and according to the Denver Post, it has produced nearly $106 million in revenue in just the first seven months of 2016.

Prop. 205 would generate more than $123 million in annual revenue for Arizona, including more than $55 million per year for the state’s school districts, according to a July analysis by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Half of those school funds will be used for teacher compensation, construction, and maintenance, and the other half will be used to support full-day kindergarten programs. State officials sparked complaints from initiative proponents last month when they drafted ballot language for Prop. 205 that fails to mention tax revenue will be used to fund education.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol launched a statewide digital ad campaign this week to highlight the school funding component of Prop. 205. One ad —which can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/2cDTASp — features a Mesa teacher, a Mesa mother of a special needs child, and a Gilbert grandmother, and it notes that, “Raising money for schools isn’t the only reason to regulate and tax marijuana, but it’s a good reason.”

School officials supporting Prop. 205 also highlighted a report released in June by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that concluded the rate of teen marijuana use in the state has remained steady since marijuana became legal for adults. The report also found that rates of current and lifetime marijuana use among Colorado teens are consistent with national averages.

The following statements represent the personal positions of the specified board members and not the positions of the boards or other board members.

Statement from Jesus Rubalcava, president of the Gila Bend Unified School District Governing Board:

“With our state ranked near the bottom in education funding, we can use all the help we can get. I therefore appreciate that the drafters of Proposition 205 directed such a significant share of the expected tax revenues toward education. As we enjoy the overall benefits of ending prohibition, it is great to know that there will be specific benefits, like expanded full-day kindergarten, for Arizona students.”

Statement from Buck Crouch, president of the Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board:

“It is no secret that Arizona schools can use additional funding, and Proposition 205 would make a significant contribution toward that need. The projected estimate of $55 million for K-12 education annually would be very beneficial for schools, teachers, and students. But I am not supporting Proposition 205 because of the funding for education alone. I also believe that marijuana prohibition has made our state less safe, along the border and elsewhere. We need to end illegal sales of marijuana and have sales occur in tightly regulated — and taxpaying — businesses.”

Statement from Devin Del Palacio, vice president of the Tolleson Union High School District Governing Board:

“Teen use in Colorado has not gone up since legalization. The Colorado initiative promised $40 million for schools, and that’s exactly what they got. Ending marijuana prohibition in Arizona makes sense. Let’s take money away from the cartels and put it into classrooms.”

Source: Arizona legalization campaign press release

Johnny Green
About Johnny Green 964 Articles

Johnny Green is a cannabis activist from Oregon. Johnny has a bachelor’s degree in public policy, and believes that the message should always be more important than the messenger. #LegalizeIt #FreeThePlant