A group called the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol says legalizing cannabis in Arizona would generate $40 million in tax revenue annually via a 15 percent sales tax proposed in the ballot measure. That money would go toward schools backers of the proposal contend.
“Our schools are in serious need of funding, and taxing marijuana would create a significant new revenue stream,” said State Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix, who is a member of the Pendergast Elementary School District Governing Board. “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.”
The group needs more than 150,000 valid voter petition signatures to get on the ballot. Organizers have already collected 60,000 signatures.
The Arizona Republican Party and a group called Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy oppose cannabis legalization and said organizers of the 2016 measure are trying to buy support by promising education funding.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry also opposes cannabis legalization.
Lisa Olson, a teacher from Mesa, also said she backed the measure at a press conference at the State Capitol Wednesday citing the education benefits.