Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego announced today that he is endorsing the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, an initiative poised for the November ballot.
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 public education programs.
“Forcing sales of this plant into the underground market has resulted in billions of dollars flowing into the hands of drug cartels and other criminals,” said Rep. Gallego. “We will be far better off if we shift the production and sale of marijuana to taxpaying Arizona businesses that are subject to strict regulations. It will also allow the state to direct law enforcement resources toward reducing violence and other more serious crimes.”
Gallego, a Democrat who represents Arizona’s 7th congressional district (comprising of central and south Phoenix as well as western Maricopa County communities), announced his endorsement at a news conference on the House Lawn of the Arizona State Capitol. He was joined by leaders of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) in Arizona, a group that is supporting the initiative.
“I am proud to support this initiative, as it represents a far more sensible approach to marijuana for our state,” mentioned Gallego. “It will make Arizona communities safer, while also generating some much-needed tax revenue for our schools.”
The campaign is wrapping up its petition drive in support of the initiative and will be submitting its signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office prior to the July 7 deadline.