The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) in Arizona announced that they have collected 50,000 signatures within 10 weeks. The campaign needs at least 150,000 signatures by July 2016 in order to get onto the November 2016 ballot.
Organizers believe the swift start to the signature collections for the campaign demonstrates 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.”
Initiative supporters say the momentum in collecting signatures doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. “We get dozens of requests every day on social media and phone calls to the campaign headquarters asking where people can sign petitions,” says Carlos Alfaro, the campaign political director, who also noted that voters can sign petitions at many Motor Vehicle Division locations around the 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 (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 the recreational marijuana industry would be used to fund the implementation and enforcement of regulations as well as be allocated to the Department of Education for construction, maintenance, operating costs, and full-day kindergarten programs, and to the Department of Health Services for public health efforts.
Recent polls have found that a majority of Arizona voters favor legalizing marijuana. A June 2015 poll found that 53% of Arizonans support legalization.