Earlier today several school officials in the Phoenix and Tucson area threw their support behind the November ballot issue Prop. 205, the Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. Officials highlighted the much-need revenue that will be raised for K-12 education if voters approve the initiative.
School officials pointed to the success of a similar ballot measure approved by Colorado voters in 2012. That measure (Amendment 64) fulfilled its promise to raise $40 million per year for public school construction.
Colorado’s regulated cannabis system brought in more than $135 million in tax revenue in 2015. In Arizona, advocates estimate that Prop. 205 could generate more than $123 million in annual tax revenue. More than $55 million per year would be dedicated to the state’s school districts, according to a July analysis by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
Half the cannabis revenue sent to schools would be used for teacher compensation, construction, and maintenance. The other half would be used to support full-day kindergarten programs.
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 features a teacher, a mother of a special needs child, and a grandmother.
Marijuana prohibition has made our state less safe, along the border and elsewhere.
School officials supporting Prop.205 also highlighted a report published in June by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. That report found that the rate of teen marijuana use in the state has remained steady since cannabis became legal for adult consumption.
Jesus Rubalcava, president of the Gila Bend Unified School District Governing Board had this to say about supporting Prop. 205: “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.”
Buck Crouch, president of the Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board added: “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.”
“I am not supporting Proposition 205 because of the funding for education alone,” Crouch added. “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.”
The Yes on 205 campaign received endorsements from Jesus Rubalcava, past president of the Arizona School Boards Association. Rubalcava currently serves as president of the Gila Bend Unified School District Governing Board. Also endorsing 205 were 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; Tucson Unified School District Governing Board Member Kristel Ann Foster; 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.