Phoenix resident Travis VandenBrul wants Arizona to be the first state in the country to repeal all drug laws (including hard drugs like methamphetamine and heroin) via public vote. He will need nearly 360,000 valid signatures by mid-2019 to get the proposal to qualify for the 2020 ballot.
VandenBrul believes current drug laws make criminals out of people simply exercising their personal rights, Arizona Capitol Times reports.
VandenBrul’s dream isn’t too far-fetched. In 2001, Portugal became the first European country to decriminalize all drugs. Since then, the country’s level of drug consumption has dropped to one of the lowest in the European Union. Officials now focus more on treating serious drug addictions with treatment programs rather than jailing offenders.
In 2016, the annual report released by the Global Commission on Drug Policy found that drug prohibition has had “little or no impact” on drug usage rates worldwide. And in August 2018 the Eastern European country Georgia said that smoking marijuana in the country is legal after a Georgian court ruled the “permission to consume marijuana is an act of protection of the person’s right to free development.”
VandenBrul realizes such a proposal is perhaps too outlandish for Arizona voters, so his other idea is to start slow by decriminalizing marijuana and hashish (marijuana extracts) in the state.