Diane Douglas speaks out against pot tax to help schools

- State Superintendent of Public Education Diane Douglas has spoken out about a plan to use a tax on pot to pay for schools.

The measure if it makes it to the ballot and passes would enact a 15% tax on adult marijuana sales.

But she sees danger in the prospect of legalizing marijuana and using a tax on it to fund Arizona's struggling school system.

"To a certain extent it's a moral issue, it is the issue that we're telling our children to stay away from drugs, and yet we're going to pay our teachers and support your schools with money from the sale of these drugs," said Charles Tack.

In a statement, Douglas said, "I believe that using drug money to educate our school children is evil and hypocritical, and I don't want any part of it. While Arizona is in desperate need of more K-12 education funding, a more responsible solution must be identified."

Douglas' position doesn't make sense to some teachers.

"Education is already funded by those two other veins, the lottery and the tobacco tax, and people have said that is evil money," said Lisa Olson.

Olson teaches at a charter school in Tempe and says education in Arizona is terribly underfunded, and this tax could make a difference.

"I have taught in a building where the ceiling leaks, where the A/C is 25-years-old, and we're nursing the thing to keep it alive, we have cut corners everwhere we can and we're fairly desperate," said Olson.

Olson is a medical marijuana user; she says before it helped her she probably would have been on the same side as Douglas.

The Arizona Marijuana tax initiative is collecting signatures to get the issue on the ballot in 2016 and put it to a vote. They say they have collected 60,000 of the 150,000 they need to get the measure on the ballot.

A push against this is also forming, it's made up of some legislators in the easy valley.
 

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