Arizona’s leading cannabis legalization campaign is close to securing the number of signatures needed for placement on the November 2016 ballot.
“Arizonans are clearly excited about this initiative,”
says Barrett Marson, the spokesman for The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.
The group must collect 150,642 valid signatures in order to place the measure on the 2016 ballot, and they are reportedly just a few thousand signatures away. Anticipating that some of the signatures gathered will be marked invalid, the group plans to gather 225,000 total signatures before turning them in to the office of the Secretary of State.
Opponents of legal cannabis have concerns about its effects on the community as well as children. A political action committee, The Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, has referenced a study by the United States Department of Health saying that Colorado has the highest past-month marijuana use since it became legal. It is unclear how this statistic pertains to the potential abuse or misuse of marijuana.
The proposed Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act mirrors Colorado’s retail system, which uses licensed business to produce and sell legal cannabis. Citizens 21 and over would be allowed to possess one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants in their home in a secure location. As the ballot campaign suggests, the penalties for driving under the influence, public intoxication and providing marijuana to minors would be similar to the penalties for alcohol. Local governments would also be allowed to ban cannabis retailers at their discretion.
The legislation would be enforced by a newly-formed Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control and funded by a 15 percent tax on all retail sales. Proceeds would also benefit public schools and teacher’s salaries (forty percent) as well as the Department of Health Services (twenty percent) for unspecified purposes.