State Lawmaker Proposes Specifying How Marijuana Sales Tax Earmarked for Education is Spent

Feb 12, 2020

Credit Laurie Avocado

A state lawmaker has proposed shifting where medical marijuana sales tax revenue for schools goes.

Senate Bill 1758 by Senator Gary Stanislawski would direct marijuana revenue for education currently going into the general fund into the State Public Common School Building Equalization Fund.

"And what does that fund do? That helps our very low ad valorem districts, rural schools throughout the state, also the public charter schools that receive no ad valorem dollars, and it provides support for facilities, repair roofs, construction," Stanislawski said.

Stanislawski said the fund has been without dedicated funding for years and he consulted education officials before filing the bill.

"Rather than adjust the funding formula — that’s where I originally was going to take some money to take care of this need — they suggested taking this money because schools aren’t used to this money yet," Stanislawski said.

Senator Kay Floyd said when voters approved medical marijuana, they decided its tax revenues would go into the general fund.

"We’re talking about language which was passed was ‘common education.’ We are actually changing that to say a specific fund that we want this to go into," Floyd said.

"Does not the legislature direct where dollars go within common education?" Stanislawski said.

Right now, 75% of medical marijuana sales tax revenue left after funding the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority goes into the general revenue fund to be spent on common education.

While the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced SB1758, it cannot become law in its current form.