Superintendent candidate calls for legalizing marijuana to pay for education system

Columbia - The StateMay 3, 2014 

Sheila Gallagher, a Democratic candidate for superintendent of education, called for legalizing marijuana to pay for education on Saturday at the S.C. Democratic Party convention.

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South Carolina superintendent of education candidate Sheila Gallagher called for legalizing marijuana when she addressed Democrats at the South Carolina Democratic Party convention in Columbia on Saturday afternoon.

Gallagher, of Florence, said legalizing marijuana should be put to a vote and the revenue that would be gained could go toward investing in the state's education system.

“It isn’t about getting high,” Gallagher said.

The revenue that could be obtained from legalizing marijuana could be used to invest millions of dollars into the education system until S.C. has the best schools in the nation, she said.

Gallagher was one of the four Democratic superintendent candidates who addressed those at the convention.

Gallagher said teacher pay raises would be a top priority with revenue raised.

Mattie Thomas, with the Florence County Democratic Party, supported the idea and pointed to other states that have legalized marijuana are making money.

“It’s lighting up in Colorado,” Thomas said.

While Gallagher wants voters to decide on the full legalization of marijuana, Democratic lawmakers have been focused solely on medical marijuana.

“Legalization is not even on our radar right now,” said Tyler Jones, spokesman for the House Democratic Caucus.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford of Richland County introduced medical marijuana legislation last month. But the bill did not cross over to the Senate by the deadline so it is dead for the year.

Rutherford will introduce it again in January with the start of a new session, Jones said.

A question about legalizing medical marijuana will be on the June 10 Democratic Primary ballot.

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