Supporters of the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act ballot initiative, which would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult-use in Arizona, have launched an Independence Day-themed billboard to promote the benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana.
The billboard reads: “If Arizona regulates marijuana, adults could buy American and support schools, not cartels.” With a taxed and regulated marijuana industry, the proposed initiative would initially generate $64 million in annual tax revenue, including $51 million for K-12 education and all-day kindergarten programs, according to an independent study conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute, as well as greatly diminish the cartels’ income from marijuana.
Leaders of the campaign supporting the ballot initiative held a news conference today at 10 a.m. in front of the billboard. They were joined by Michael Capasso, a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who supports the ballot initiative.
“I know from personal experience that the illegal status of marijuana in the United States helps to fuel demand for marijuana produced by drug cartels in Mexico,” said Capasso. “If we truly hope to eliminate the criminal element associated with marijuana, the only solution is to make marijuana legal and tightly regulate its production and sale. I am supporting the Arizona initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol because it will make our communities safer. Marijuana should be sold by licensed businesses, not drug cartels.”
During Capasso’s time at the DEA, he spearheaded a task force targeting Mexican-based cartels trafficking drugs into the U.S. and directed operations at one of the DEA’s front-line posts along the U.S.-Mexico border. He retired in 2015 after serving more than three and a half years as Financial Crimes Unit Chief.