Marijuana Legalization Campaign Reaches 100,000 Signatures for Arizona Ballot Initiative

The Campaign to Legalize Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona announced today that it’s collected 100,000 signatures, or two-thirds of what it needs to get  the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act on the November 2016 ballot.

CRMLA still needs to get at least 50,000 more valid signatures by July, though leaders of the campaign have said they’re aiming to get 230,000 and are "very, very confident" they’ll succeed.

“We’re meeting a lot of people [around the state] who are enthusiastic about removing prohibition," Carlos Alfaro, the campaign’s political director, tells New Times.

"It seems to be a topic of discussion that just clicks for people: [They say,] 'Of course prohibition doesn’t work. We need a better system.'"

That the petition for the CRMLA, one of the cannabis measures expected to be on next year’s ballot, is quickly amassing signatures should come as no surprise — a recent independent poll found that 53 percent of Arizonans support legalizing cannabis, while only 39 percent oppose it.

(Nationally, a Gallup poll found that 58 percent of Americans support it.)

The act, if passed, would replace the state’s marijuana prohibition laws with a system of taxes and regulations similar to the way alcohol is managed.

Adults over the age of 21 would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow six plants in an enclosed space, and would be charged a 15 percent sales tax on any purchased cannabis — as New Times has written before, the 15 percent sales tax mandated by the act is projected to bring $40 million annual to the state’s education system.

The act also stipulates that any marijuana products be tested and accurately labeled, plus contains provisions for a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control, which according to the group’s website, would be tasked with “[overseeing] a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana retail stores, licensed cultivation facilities, licensed product manufacturing facilities, and licensed testing facilities.”

Read the full text of The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act here.
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Miriam is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Miriam Wasser