MCCCD Receives $17 Million In First Year of Funds from Recreational Cannabis Tax

Jan, 18 2022


Since the passing of Proposition 207 in 2020, which allows legal recreational cannabis use in Arizona, the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) has been able to improve student offerings as a result of the proposition’s imposed 16 percent excise tax, which benefits public programs. In its first year of funding, MCCCD is pleased to report that it has received a total of $17.1 million.

“The cannabis industry is not like any business at all, it has really flipped many business models on their heads,” said Dr. Bobra Crocke, lead Faculty of the Cannabis Education Program at Scottsdale Community College. “There’s a lot of interest in the cannabis industry but not a lot of knowledge, and that has played a large role in helping us design our curriculum to reach both people who know something about cannabis and people who know nothing at all about the industry.”

The sale of recreational marijuana, which started in mid-January 2021, saw approximately $513.5 million in Arizona in total consumer dollars spent in the 2021 calendar year. In the first allocation of excise tax funds, distributed in July 2021, MCCCD received $4.5 million, with a second distribution in December 2021 of $12.6 million - totaling $17.1 million in funds for 2021. Projections estimate that the District will see $16 million in annual distributions to the Maricopa Community Colleges for the first few years with a gradual increase. 

MCCCD has earmarked $7.6 million to directly benefit trade and technical training instructional divisions known as skills centers. These skills centers include focus areas of beauty and wellness, healthcare, and trades and technology, with 35 career-specific training programs. 

Prop 207’s imposed excise tax is distributed first to reimburse actual reasonable costs incurred by certain state agencies and is then broken down with:

  • 33 percent among community college districts
  • 31.4 percent to municipal police and fire districts
  • 25.4 percent to the Highway User Fund (HURF)
  • 10 percent to the Justice Reinvestment Fund
  • 0.2 percent to the attorney general

At the community college level, distributions are to be spent for the purposes of investing in and providing workforce development programs, job training, career and technical education, and science, technology, engineering, and math programs.

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