An independent Arizona-based research organization reports a proposed 2016 ballot measure to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol would likely raise more revenue for education in Arizona than initiative backers originally estimated.
According to the Grand Canyon Institute, a "centrist think-thank led by a bipartisan group of former state lawmakers, economists, community leaders, and academicians," tax revenue from the initiative would initially generate $64 million annually, including $51 million for K-12 education and all-day kindergarten programs. It estimates that by 2019, once the new system is fully rolled out, it would raise $72 million per year, including approximately $58 million for public education. The full report is available at http://bit.ly/1NTmGvm.
On August 19, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol announced that it had conservatively estimated that the initiative would raise more than $40 million in tax revenue for public education in Arizona. The estimate was called into question by opponents, and the Arizona Republic published an editorial in which it called the estimate a "lie" and accused the campaign of exaggerating the initiative's revenue potential.
"The Grand Canyon Institute...finds that the revenue projections were conservative as proponents claimed," the report reads. "The revenue gains do exceed the $40 million espoused by proponents of the initiative."
Statement from J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol:
"It is safe to say that our initiative to regulate and tax marijuana will generate tens of millions of dollars for education in Arizona. Our conservative estimate of $40-plus million in revenue for schools turned out to be even more conservative than we thought. It might not be enough to solve all of our schools' budget problems, but it will help immensely.
"You can debate whether marijuana should be made legal for adults, but there's no arguing the fact that this initiative will generate significant revenue for Arizona schools. For decades, people have been exaggerating the potential harms of marijuana and downplaying the benefits of regulating and taxing it. We have no need to lie or exaggerate because the evidence is on our side. The most effective and abundant weapon in our campaign's arsenal is the truth."
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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is supporting a 2016 statewide ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. For more information, visit http://www.RegulateMarijuanaAZ.org.