Nevada officials pledge marijuana taxes for K-12 education |

Nevada officials pledge marijuana taxes for K-12 education

Gov. Steve Sisolak and legislative leadership held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to pledge all of the marijuana tax money to K-12 public education.

“Speaking directly to our teachers, we have not stopped working to get you the raises we promised at the beginning of session,” he said.

He said legislation introduced Tuesday on the Senate floor would funnel all that revenue — projected at nearly $120 million over the biennium — into the Distributive School Account.

Flanked by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, and Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, Sisolak said the marijuana excise tax didn’t go where it was supposed to go at the end of the 2017 Legislature. Instead, it was transferred to the Rainy Day Fund.

Frierson said pot taxes are expected to generate $58 million in 2020 and $68 million in 2021. He said his AB309 puts the money in a dedicated account for education so it can’t be diverted to uses other than funding education.

Cannizzaro said there’s more work to be done but local schools and students must have the resources to be successful.

Sisolak said keeping the promise to raise teacher pay has been the most difficult challenge since he took office. He said education budgets were fully funded in every school district along with the 3 percent raises promised teachers.

But, he said, “then we’re told a couple of months later there’s a $120 million deficit.”

“We’re doing everything humanly possible to find every dollar we can put in,” he said.