Verify: Will the legalization of marijuana be worth it in Arizona?

Should Arizona legalize recreational marijuana?

Next Tuesday, many of you will take part in one of the most important votes in American history.

Not only the presidential race, which most will agree has been historic, but also the vote for Proposition 205, the law that would legalize marijuana in Arizona.

Right now, there are six states -- including Arizona -- whose voters will make the call on whether or not smoking pot should still be a criminal activity in 2016.

RELATED: What's in Prop 205?

The problem here, as it is in the other states where a similar vote is looming, is that there is a ton of information and misinformation being circulated.

For example, in Arizona we have heard about the mistakes that Denver made: “Denver schools were promised millions and got nothing.”

That’s true, but it’s only because Denver schools never applied for any of the marijuana tax money that was made available to all Colorado schools.

But just because Colorado schools received close to $40 million, that shouldn’t be a reason to vote for it.

I recently spent four days in Colorado looking at that state’s program, the pros and the cons.

MARIJUANA: Hospital visits for Colorado kids after legalization

The pros? According to Colorado’s Pot Czar Andrew Freedman, last year it was a billion-dollar industry, just shy of Colorado’s $1.1 billion craft brew industry.

To put that in perspective, Colorado’s economy is roughly $300 billion, so pot accounts for less a 1/3 of one percent of the actual economy.

So, is it worth the hassle? Maybe and maybe not.

As Freedman says, schools did get $40 million that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.

MORE: Check out all of 12 News' marijuana coverage

For the record, Colorado and Arizona have this sad stat in common: We rank among the lowest in the country on spending for education.

Here in Arizona, we all know what a battle it has been to get our public schools bumped up the food chain when it comes to state spending.

But Freedman admits it’s too soon to tell if the long-term benefits will outweigh the drawbacks.

 

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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