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AZ Lawmakers: Legalize Marijuana and Use Revenue to Fund Teacher Raises

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Arizona Representatives Todd Clodfelter and Mark Cardenas are teaming up to introduce House Concurrent Resolution 2037 which aims to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona and allocate some of the revenue from it to help the state afford the increase in teacher pay. The Democrat and Republican duo aim to have the measure on the November ballots.

Local governments would be permitted to “opt out” of recreational sales, AZ Family reports. Public marijuana consumption would remain banned as would driving stoned. As far as possession is concerned, adults over the age of 21 would be permitted to have up to one ounce on marijuana.

Cardenas said, “We plan to inject that as part of the budget discussions. You want $150 million for teachers for their cost of living adjustments, to make up a significant part of their raise? Here you go.”

Governor Ducey’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting estimates that a 20% teacher pay raise will cost the state about $650 million.

“Polling shows that the majority of Arizonans are in support of legalized cannabis, so our job is to make sure it happens. To have those conversations. To lay egos aside and realize this is a revenue source that we desperately need,” said Cardenas.

The biggest hurdle for this measure is gaining Governor Ducey’s approval to put it on the ballots in November, which may be tough since Ducey has always vocalized his anti-marijuana agenda.

House Concurrent Resolution 2037 has not received a committee hearing yet.

Photo: Joseph Flaherty/Phoenix New Times

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