PHOENIX, AZ — Supporters of a proposal to legalize marijuana in Arizona are ahead of schedule in efforts to collect enough signatures to place the measure before voters in 2016.
As of Friday, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona, which is backed by the national Marijuana Policy Project, has collected over 100,000 petition signatures, well ahead of schedule to submit the necessary 150,642 valid signatures to the Secretary of State’s office by July 7.
The proposed initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana; establish a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol; and enact a 15 percent tax on retail marijuana sales, from which a majority of the revenue would be directed to Arizona schools and public education programs.
Because signatures collected during petition drives are often invalidated for being illegible or because the signer provided incomplete or inaccurate information, the campaign has set a goal to collect 230,000 total signatures. Registered voters in Arizona who have not yet signed the petition and would like to do so can find more information from the campaign’s website, or view a map of current petition locations here.
Recent polls have found that a majority of Arizona voters favor legalizing marijuana. A June 2015 poll found 53% support the idea.
If organizers are successful in placing the measure on the November 2016 ballot and the measure is subsequently approved by voters, the proposal would end marijuana prohibition in Arizona and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.
In summary, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would:
- allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess and privately consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana (it will remain illegal to consume marijuana in public);
- create a system in which licensed businesses can produce and sell marijuana to adults and establish a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana;
- provide local governments with the authority to regulate and prohibit marijuana businesses; and
- establish a 15% tax on adult marijuana sales in addition to standard sales taxes.
Marijuana tax revenue will be used to fund the implementation and enforcement of regulations, and any additional revenue will be allocated to the Department of Education for construction, maintenance, operating costs, and full-day kindergarten programs and to the Department of Health Services for public health efforts. The full text of the initiative is available on the campaign’s website.
Other campaigns sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project aimed at legalizing marijuana in 2016 are underway in several states. The state of Nevada has already approved their legalization proposal for the 2016 ballot.
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