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The Green Scene:

A Look at How the Cannabis Industry Could Fund Arizona K-12 Education

By Lindsey Wisniewski | Dec. 8, 2015

“There’s no shortage of studies of marijuana and the problems it causes. We’ve spent the better part of seven decades trying to keep marijuana out of the hands of the people [and] to abandon those seven decades…it’s creating a problem to solve a problem.”

-Seth Leibsohn, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy

A campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona is quickly gaining traction with the state’s education glitches at the forefront.

The Arizona Marijuana Initiative would regulate the sales of cannabis, while adding a 15 percent sales tax to help boost education funding. But despite the projected funds, there has been opposition to the initiative.

Diane Douglas, the superintendent of public instruction for the state, has publicly vocalized her resistance to the legalization.

“I don’t know what the number will be, we don’t know the number that will be generated,” Douglas said. “But I’m sorry, I do not believe in generating money for children’s education through the perpetuation of vices.”

The Marijuana Policy Project said the state could see up to $40 million annually if the law is passed.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has been leading the pro-recreational cannabis push. Carlos Alfaro, the campaign’s manager, says the group’s goal is not to fix education funding, but to control a market that’s already in place.

“We understand that there is already an illegal market happening,” Alfaro said, “And we just want to regulate it so that it’s safe and benefits our community.”

With over 115,000 signatures collected so far, half of the 230,000 required, it should come as no surprise that the controversial issue may very well be on the 2016 ballot in Arizona.

To read the full story, click here.


Copy Editor | Lindsey Wisniewski

Media Editor | Sabella Scalise

Graphic & Web Editor | Anna Copper

A collection of stories created by the 2015-2016 graduate students

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

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