Backers of an initiative to legalize recreational cannabis in Arizona announced Thursday that their petition drive has surpassed the 75,000-signature mark, half of the 150,642 needed to place the measure on the November, 2016 general election ballot.
“We’re finding that more than one out of every two registered voters we ask to sign is happy to do it, so that’s a good sign,” says J.P. Holyoak, Chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol . “People recognize that marijuana prohibition has been just as big of a mess as alcohol prohibition was 80 years ago. It’s time for a more sensible approach.”
The proposed initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to six cannabis plants; establish a system in which cannabis is regulated similarly to alcohol; and enact a 15 percent tax on retail cannabis sales, from which a majority of the revenue would be directed to Arizona schools and public education programs.
“Most voters seem to recognize that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and that we’d be better off if we started treating it that way,” Holyoak said. “It makes little sense to criminalize adults for choosing to use a product that is safer than one you can currently buy in a grocery store. Regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol just makes sense.”
Although 150,642 signatures are needed, the group is aiming to collect 230,000 to account for invalid signatures (those not from registered Arizona voters, and any duplicate signatures).