The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (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.
Campaign organizers believe the swiftly amounted signature collections for the campaign indicated that voters in Arizona are ready to further reform the state’s marijuana laws. “Adults of all ages and political stripes want to vote for this in November 2016,” stated the campaign chairman. “We are excited by the outpouring of support. This is the right initiative at the right time.”
“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.”
In summary, the CRMLA’s initiative, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would:
– allow adults 21 or older to possess and privately consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana (it will remain illegal to consume marijuana in public)
– establish a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana
– create a system in which licensed businesses (i.e., dispensaries) can cultivate and sell marijuana to adults
– provide local governments with the authority to regulate and prohibit marijuana businesses
– establish a 15% tax on adult marijuana sales in addition to standard sales taxes.
Tax revenue from an Arizona recreational marijuana industry would be used to fund the implementation and enforcement of regulations as well as be allocated to the Department of Health Services for public health efforts, and to the Department of Education for construction, maintenance, operating costs, and full-day kindergarten programs.
Recent polls have found that 53% of Arizonans support legalization.