Public Radio Tulsa reports….A bill that redirects medical marijuana tax revenue dedicated to education from Oklahoma’s General Fund has passed the Senate.
Senate Bill 1758 by Sen. Gary Stanislawski sends the money into the State Public Common School Building Equalization Fund, which helps smaller districts improve facilities.
Stanislawski said $760,000 in marijuana taxes went into the general fund last year, only enough to hire 11 new teachers statewide. He said that money could make a significant difference if districts with few resources can use it to improve their schools.
“I don’t believe a ZIP code should define the quality of education that a child receives. Statewide, we should have good, clean, well-built facilities,” Stanislawski said.
When voters legalized medical marijuana through a state question, they approved a provision for 75% of its tax revenue to go toward education. Sen. J.J. Dossett pushed back against the bill, saying the money should be available to help all schools.
“Any time we’re picking and choosing which schools are getting money, it’s not an equitable situation. I have concerns that we’re putting it into a fund that will only help a small pocket of schools,” Dossett said.
SB1758 passed 27–16 and now goes to the House.
Section 426. SECTION 1. AMENDATORY Section 7, State Question No. 788,
Initiative Petition No. 412 (63 O.S. Supp. 2019, Section 426), is
amended to read as follows:
A. The tax on retail medical marijuana sales
received by the seller.
B. This tax
will be collected at the point of sale. Tax
will be applied primarily to finance the regulatory
C. If proceeds from the levy authorized by subsection A of this
section exceed the budgeted amount for running the regulatory
office, any surplus shall be apportioned
with seventy-five going to the General Revenue Fund and may only be expended for common education. Oklahoma State Department of Health and earmarked for drug and
SECTION 2. This act shall become effective July 1, 2020.
SECTION 3. It being immediately necessary for the preservation
of the public peace, health or safety, an emergency is hereby
declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and
be in full force from and after its passage and approval.
1 Passed the Senate the 10th day of March, 2020.
Presiding Officer of the Senate
5 Passed the House of Representatives the
day of ,
Presiding Officer of the House
9 of Representatives