Marijuana brings crucial funding


By Amaya Hunsberger

(Illustration by Tim Leddick)
(Illustration by Tim Leddick)

An issue that has taken the nation by storm and left controversy in its wake is the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. As of March 2014, Clark County voted to allow medical marijuana dispensaries, but not without regulations.

After many compromises and negotiations, the local government decided to permit the opening of such dispensaries with the agreement that owners must abide by any and all restrictions decided by the Las Vegas City Council in the coming months. The ordinance is a monumental step taken by our local government, though there will be amendments and revisions made to ensure future success.

Clearly the City Council was motivated by the revenue generated in Colorado. On the first day in Colorado, sales reached well over $1 million. 2014 is expected to see $57 million profit, which will be split among school construction, local government spending, and education and treatment for the abuse of marijuana. The question becomes where will this revenue go?

Funding of this sort needs to go to improving our state’s low educational ranking.  As our educational ranking continues to plummet, administrators have attempted to salvage what they can with standardized common core and programs intended to increase graduation rate. Colorado holds a 75.5 percent graduation rate which has increased by 1.5 percent in the past year and is expected to increase to 80 percent within the next four years. Money from marijuana sales made the difference. Nevada remains at the bottom of the food chain in education, having the third lowest graduation rate out of an evaluation of 47 states.

Legalizing marijuana sales, though generally thought of with a negative connotation, can be manipulated to produce a better outcome for our school system. Taking the age old advice to look at the glass half full, our state has considered the positive effects this law will have on our economy and education and has begun to make changes accordingly.

This is money that could be put to use in our school districts. In addition, this new law will be provides more jobs and, in turn, boosts the economy. Despite initial hesitation toward legalizing this debated substance, the state has chosen well to invest in a law that has benefits for the future.

It is true that casinos are taxed to support schools, universities, transportation and public safety but this is not enough. Unfortunately, the gross gaming tax only makes up for eight percent of the state’s annual funds, hardly enough to be of any help to our schools, let alone safety and transportation. Some argue that more pressure should be placed on Nevada’s industries to fix our current problem regarding education, while others accuse poor state spending.

After all this fuss, we could find the answer has been staring us right in the face. Like any situation, there are plenty of solutions that come with their own problems. At this point it is up to us to decide which one will cause the least amount of damage in order to change our state’s position in education.  This decision will have an impact on our state financially and politically as opposing sides to the argument debate the proper way to approach such a delicate topic.