Surprise: Colorado's Largest Teacher's Union Comes Out Against Marijuana Legalization


Denver's Westword reports that the Colorado Education Association will announce later today that it is opposing Amendment 64, the ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol: 

At an 11 a.m. press conference, representatives of the Colorado Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, will announce their opposition to Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.

Backers of the measure portray it as pro-education, with proceeds from an excise tax earmarked for the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund. But the CEA sees a disconnect, says a 64 opposition spokeswoman.

"I think this puts to rest the proponents' rationale that you can fund schools with pot money, and that it will be acceptable to people," says Laura Chapin of Smart Colorado, the main No on 64 group.

According to Chapin, CEA president Kerrie Dallman and vice president Amie Baca-Oehlert will speak on behalf of the CEA. She points out that both of them have teaching backgrounds; Dallman is a high-school social studies teacher currently on leave from Jefferson County, while Baca-Oehlert is taking a similar leave from Adams County, where she works as a high-school counselor.

The CEA board voted to oppose Amendment 64 earlier this month. Regarding the reasons for this decision, Chapin says, "You've seen the multiple reports about the increase of marijuana use among kids in Colorado. And for teachers, something that basically legalizes recreational use on a broad scale is incompatible with the mission of educating kids."

According to Chapin, another reason for the CEA's opposition involves the measure's "whole mechanism for school funding—an excise tax that has to be run through another ballot measure before it can even be applied." And even if such a tax is passed, she goes on, "their top concern is kids and the whole idea that you shouldn't be funding schools with pot."

So it's fine to fund public education with gambling proceeds, but not with a pot tax? Fascinating.