Top 10 Reasons Legalized Marijuana Will Pass in Arizona

Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for adults 21 and older, and Arizona voters probably will get the chance to decide the question for themselves next year.

The people of the 48th state are a proud, independent-thinking bunch who prefer the federal government to butt out (except when we need money). It's a purple state with about 35 percent of voters registered as independent. Put the question before them, and Arizona voters will say "yes" to legal marijuana for a multitude of reasons.

Here are our Top 10 reasons why marijuana legalization will pass here next November:

10.) Momentum for the pot revolution is increasing nationally: Petitions are being gathered for adult-use legalization in 13 states, including Arizona. In Ohio, a pro-legalization bill will be on the ballot this November.

9.) The Arizona medical-marijuana program has been wildly successful, with 80,000 patients and almost 90 dispensaries that have spawned fewer problems than the average Circle K.

8.) Voters no longer trust prohibitionist county attorneys Bill Montgomery and Sheila Polk, much less the Arizona Republic's editorial board, on cannabis issues.

7.) People who believe in states' rights and individual liberty will vote to free the weed — and that includes plenty of Arizonans.

6.) The rate signature-gathering is going demonstrates the popularity of legal pot. Even in our hot-as-hell weather lately, petition-gatherers for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol say they've already collected 60,000 signatures. (The required 230,000 should be a cinch before the July 7, 2016, deadline.)

5.) Since legalizing marijuana in 2012, Colorado has seen its traffic fatalities, crime, and teen use of marijuana decline — while ever-increasing tax revenue from legal cannabis sales is expected to raise more than $30 million for Colorado schools this year. Heaven knows our schools need a financial jolt.

4.) Apparently, God wants it to pass, and there certainly are a lot of Christians in Arizona! The Bible says: "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb-yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the Earth." (Genesis 1:29)

3.) The state's young people will come out in droves on November 8, 2016, to cast their votes in the most important presidential election of their time — and most of them will also vote for legal marijuana.

2.) The Rocky Mountain Poll, which predicted that Arizona's medical-marijuana ballot measure would win narrowly in 2010, predicts the same thing now for the potential 2016 legalization initiative.

1.) It's the money, stupid: By taxing 400,000 Arizonans for something they already use, Arizona schools should reap a tax-revenue windfall of $40 million or more a year.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern