Marijuana Legalization Campaign Trying to Get Issue on Arizona Ballots in 2014

Arizona may become the next state where the voters can decide to legalize the personal use of marijuana.

On Wednesday, a group calling itself "Safer Arizona" filed its paperwork for the marijuana-legalizing amendment to the Arizona Constitution with the Secretary of State's office. The group will need 259,213 signatures by July 2014 to get on the ballot.

See also:
-Arizona's Zero-Tolerance Stance on Pot and Driving
-Marijuana Legalization Supported by More Than Half of Arizonans
-Earth to Pot Dealers: Selling "Medical Marijuana" on Craigslist Not the Greatest Idea

According to press accounts, the group doesn't have any deep-pocketed donors -- yet, at least -- but that really doesn't sound like an extremely difficult number of signatures to collect.

Remember that Respect Arizona, the group that tried to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, estimated it gathered more than 200,000 signatures in a little less than four months, and those were just Maricopa County voters.

Even further, the latest poll we've seen on the issue -- released last month by the Behavior Research Center -- shows more than half of Arizonans favor marijuana legalization.

From what we can tell here in the early stages, the group's going with a selling point of "Marijuana is safer than alcohol," and it has a website (honestly, it probably already needs a new one).

Organizers have said this proposal's language is similar to the ones passed by voters in Colorado and Washington, and that claim more or less checks out.

In addition to the simpler points -- marijuana use is legal for people 18 and older, and can be taxed and regulated in a similar manner to alcohol -- this marijuana proposal here would help clear up a few things that are pretty crappy right now under Arizona law.

One, for those who like to have their guns, and smoke weed too, this proposal helps that.

"A person's right to own and bear arms shall not be infringed upon based on a person's use, possession, transportation or production of Marijuana," one of the proposal's points states.

Also, you may remember from our colleague Ray Stern's recent cover story, "Riding High: Arizona's Zero-Tolerance Stance on Pot and Driving," that a joint last week could earn you a marijuana DUI today. This proposal says that's no good.

Driving while impaired by marijuana would still be illegal, but while the proposal says that "impairment can only be deduced but not directly inferred" from the presence of THC in a person's blood, it goes on to say that per se levels -- such as .08, when it comes to drinking and driving, shall not be established.

We'll keep you posted on how legitimate this ballot initiative becomes.

Click over to the next page to read the language of the proposition:

Safer Arizona Proposition by mhendleyNT

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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