Candidate Proposes Legalizing Marijuana in SC to Raise School Mo - WSPA.com

Candidate Proposes Legalizing Marijuana in SC to Raise School Money

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Democratic candidate for state superintendent of education Sheila Gallagher is proposing that South Carolina legalize marijuana as a way to raise new tax money for schools.

"Between the tax dollars you could bring in and stop putting some of our kids in prison and such, we could probably raise about $188 million a year, and if that would be the case that would be great because we could have the best schools in the nation, and that's what we're really looking for," she says.

Right now, Colorado and Washington are the only states that have legalized recreational marijuana use. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.

Colorado estimates it could bring in $98 million in marijuana tax money this year. The first $40 million is earmarked for school construction, but where the rest of the money will go hasn’t been decided.

Washington estimates it could bring in $190 million over four years. Its marijuana tax money is earmarked for health care, youth drug prevention, public health and research.

Gallagher knows it will be tough to get lawmakers in a conservative state like South Carolina to pass legalizing marijuana, but her plan is to get them to pass a constitutional amendment referendum, so it would be up to voters to decide. She says, "I'd like to turn it over to the people and say, 'Here's an opportunity. Let's look at this whole idea of legalizing marijuana and see what it can do for us.'"

Gallagher is a former classroom teacher and former president of the South Carolina Education Association. SCEA executive director Roger Smith says Gallagher’s opinions are her own and not those of the SCEA, which does not endorse her plan.

However, he says the additional money is needed. "I think it's enough to make a difference. Currently, we are underfunding, according to state law we are underfunding our public schools by roughly $700 million per year,” he says.

The field is crowded in the race for education superintendent. Eight Republicans and four Democrats are running in the primaries.

For the Republicans: Sally Atwater, Gary Burgess, Meka Bosket Childs, Amy Cofield, Sheri Few, Don Jordan, Elizabeth Moffly, and Molly Mitchell Spearman.

For the Democrats: Montrio M Belton, Sr., Sheila C Gallagher, Jerry Govan, and Tom Thompson.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • August Mugshots

    August Mugshots

    Monday, August 11 2014 4:01 PM EDT2014-08-11 20:01:35 GMT
    August arrests in Upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina.
    August arrests in Upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina.
  • Things You Only Hear in the South

    Things You Only Hear in the South

    Friday, June 20 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-06-21 00:10:48 GMT
    Here are a mess of words and phrases that make the South unique and awesome.
    Here are a mess of words and phrases that make the South unique and awesome.
  • Teen Sues SC Over License Photo

    Teen Sues SC Over License Photo

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:38 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:38:19 GMT
    Chase Culpepper, 16, was asked to remove his makeup before taking his driver’s license picture.Chase Culpepper, 16, was asked to remove his makeup before taking his driver’s license picture.
    An organization that supports transgender rights is suing South Carolina after the state wouldn't issue a driver's license to a 16-year-old boy unless he took off his makeup.
    An organization that supports transgender rights is suing South Carolina after the state wouldn't issue a driver's license to a 16-year-old boy unless he took off his makeup.
Robert Kittle
Robert is the 7 On Your Side reporter covering politics and government at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C.
  • Most Viewed Stories on WSPA.com

  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • 2 Arrested After Deputies Find Child With Broken Arm, Burn Injuries

    2 Arrested After Deputies Find Child With Broken Arm, Burn Injuries

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:01 PM EDT2014-09-03 02:01:52 GMT
    Mugshots provided by the Cherokee County Sheriff's OfficeMugshots provided by the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office
    A child abuse call Sunday had officers arriving in the emergency room to a girl with a broken arm and the adult with her changing their story of how it happened. 
    A child abuse call Sunday had officers arriving in the emergency room to a girl with a broken arm and the adult with her changing their story of how it happened. 
  • Teen Sues SC Over License Photo

    Teen Sues SC Over License Photo

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:38 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:38:19 GMT
    Chase Culpepper, 16, was asked to remove his makeup before taking his driver’s license picture.Chase Culpepper, 16, was asked to remove his makeup before taking his driver’s license picture.
    An organization that supports transgender rights is suing South Carolina after the state wouldn't issue a driver's license to a 16-year-old boy unless he took off his makeup.
    An organization that supports transgender rights is suing South Carolina after the state wouldn't issue a driver's license to a 16-year-old boy unless he took off his makeup.
  • Documents Reveal Plan to Overhaul Emergency Care

    Documents Reveal Plan to Overhaul Emergency Care

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:32:56 GMT
    Documents reveal the "politically sensitive" plan to overhaul EMS.Documents reveal the "politically sensitive" plan to overhaul EMS.
    7 On Your Side Investigations uncovered new documents that detail a “politically sensitive” proposal for overhauling the Greenville County EMS system. The plan would change the way ambulances respond in a 9-1-1 emergency and would give control of the life-saving service to the county's largest hospital chain, Greenville Health System. 
    7 On Your Side Investigations uncovered new documents that detail a “politically sensitive” proposal for overhauling the Greenville County EMS system. The plan would change the way ambulances respond in a 9-1-1 emergency and would give control of the life-saving service to the county's largest hospital chain, Greenville Health System. 
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.