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A Puff Of Smoke In Arizona Prop 205 Marijuana Tax Claim Ad

Supporters and opponents of recreational marijuana launched their first wave of TV ads this week in the fight over Arizona Proposition 205, and there’s already at least one claim that’s a puff of smoke.

A nearly $1 million ad by the No on 205 campaign begins by referencing the first state to legalize recreational marijuana.

“Colorado schools were promised millions in new revenue. Instead, Denver schools got nothing,” the narrator says, citing this Denver-area news report.

At first glance, the claim may appear to suggest that public schools throughout Colorado got no tax dollars from recreational marijuana sales, or that schools in Colorado’s most populous city haven’t received marijuana tax funds; both of those implications are false.

A video by Denver Public Schools, Colorado’s largest school district, quickly shows why.

“During the first couple of years of legalization, Colorado received nearly $27 million dollars in state-level marijuana excise taxes,” the narrator explains. “That money supports schools across our state.”

On top of the state excise tax, there is a city-level marijuana tax that supports Denver Public Schools.

“DPS receives about $1 per student from these sources to provide after-school and summer programs. Those funds compliment another $1.4 million the city provides to other organizations that support Denver students,” the narrator says.

In a school district of roughly 86,000 students, $1 per pupil from marijuana taxes isn’t much. But it’s not “nothing,” as the ad claims.

It is true that Denver Public Schools has not received state-level marijuana funding.

“The easy answer? DPS hasn’t applied for any of the capital construction grants in the past few years,” according to the news report cited by the No on 205 campaign.

The district says the reason it hasn’t applied for state money is because the grants are typically awarded to rural districts without bond support. However, the district is “just as eligible to apply for a grant as its rural counterparts.”

The No on Arizona Prop 205 television ad was financed by Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy. The group has purchased $983,571 worth of television spots, which run through Oct. 3.

In November, Arizona voters will decide on Proposition 205, which would allow adults to possess, purchase, and use up to one ounce of recreational marijuana from licensed retailers. The sales would be taxed an extra 15 percent, with part of the proceeds funding K-12 education. The Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimates recreational marijuana sales would generate $55.6 million in new funding for schools in fiscal year 2020.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Source: Fact check: marijuana tax claim a puff of smoke in Prop 205 ad – CBS 5 – KPHO