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Schools get 40 percent of pot tax proceeds

I have a question concerning the tax money coming in from the sale of marijuana. How is this money being spent? I know the school system in Oregon is lacking funds. When children are released on Wednesday because they don't have enough funds to pay the teachers for a 40-hour week, that is really sad. The children should be our No. 1 concern. They are the leaders of tomorrow.

— Carol, Medford

Schools will receive 40 percent of net proceeds from a state tax on recreational marijuana.

After the costs of regulation and administration are covered, 40 percent will go to the Common School Fund, 20 percent to cities and counties, 20 percent to mental health, alcoholism and drug-treatment services, 15 percent to Oregon State Police and 5 percent to the Oregon Health Authority.

In January, the state began levying a 25 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana. The state tax is scheduled to ratchet down to 17 percent Oct. 1.

No one knows yet how much the state tax will generate this year, or how much will be distributed after the costs of regulation and administration are covered.

As of July 31, the Oregon Department of Revenue had processed $25.5 million in marijuana tax payments, the department reported in late August.

Many local jurisdictions in the state, including Jackson County, are asking voters to approve 3 percent local taxes on marijuana in November. Jackson County would use the money to offset what officials say are increased burdens on county government due to state voters' legalization of marijuana. County officials have seen added demand on county planning and code enforcement services, and expect more burdens on health and human services.

By the way, local students are released early on Wednesdays not because of a lack of funds but because of a contract that gives teachers preparation and training time on Wednesday afternoons.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.