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Arizona Initiative to Legalize Marijuana Heading for the Ballot

Arizona Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiative

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona (CRMLA) submitted 258,582 petition signatures to the Secretary of State on June 30th for the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act ballot initiative which would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults 21 years of age or older in Arizona. Only 150,642 valid signatures are needed to qualify for the November ballot.

The Secretary of State is expected to determine whether the initiative has qualified by late August.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee released a report Wednesday that estimates passage of the initiative will generate nearly $82 million in annual tax revenue, including more than $55 million for Arizona schools

“We are very encouraged by the strong levels of support and enthusiasm we found among voters during the petition drive,” said J.P. Holyoak, CRMLA Chairman. “Arizonans are ready to end the antiquated policy of marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. We look forward to continuing the public conversation about the initiative, and we think most will agree it is a sensible step forward for our state.”

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. A majority of the tax revenue would be directed to Arizona schools and education programs.

“Our schools could certainly benefit from tens of millions of dollars in new revenue each year,” said Kathy Inman, executive director of MomForce AZ and co-chair of Parents for Responsible Regulation, a group of Arizona parents concerned about the harms caused by marijuana prohibition, especially to teens. “The money for education is a huge bonus, but the real value of this initiative is in ending the many harms associated with prohibition. I support regulating marijuana because it will make Arizona a safer place for my daughter and my granddaughter. Marijuana should be produced and sold in tightly regulated businesses, not in a dangerous underground market.”