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Oklahoma Senate Passes Bill Redirecting Marijuana Tax Money for Schools

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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.