Initiative to Legalize Marijuana to be on November Ballot in Arizona

Voters in Arizona will soon have the opportunity to make their state the 12th in the U.S. to legalize marijuana: An initiative to make marijuana legal for everyone 21 and older has officially qualified for the November ballot.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announced on Monday that the group leading the initiative had collected enough valid signatures (from registered Arizona voters) to qualify for the November ballot.

“[T]he petition exceeded the minimum requirement with approximately 255,080 valid signatures,” said Hobbs on Twitter, noting that the measure is officially Proposition 207.

According to High Times, the petition was circulated by Smart and Safe Arizona, a group that has centered its pitch for legalization around economic opportunity for the state, saying that a marijuana industry would create jobs and opportunities, with revenue providing “additional resources for police training, enforcement and task forces,” as well as more funding for the state’s community colleges. “The group said it had submitted more than 420,000 signatures. Smart and Safe Arizona asserts that the new law would generate $3 billion in new revenue in the first decade alone.”

Specifically Proposition 207 would legalize “the sale, possession and consumption of one ounce of marijuana” for adults aged 21 and older. The measure would ban “smoking marijuana in public places like restaurants and open spaces like sidewalks and parks,” as well as heightened penalties for “for driving under the influence of marijuana and gives police departments funding for enforcement, training, equipment and task forces.” It would also ban “the sale of gummy bears, gummy worms and other products that resemble kids’ candy,” and would limit “the amount of THC (the chemical responsible for the “high” in marijuana) to 10 milligrams per serving of edible product.”

Under the law, the Arizona Department of Health Services would be given “the authority to oversee the safe sale of marijuana, including testing and inspecting products sold.”

If the measure was to be passed into law this November, Arizona would join 11 other states with legal marijuana (over 30 have legalized medical marijuana), including Colorado, Washington, California, Maine, Vermont, Nevada and several others.

According to an Emerson College Poll released last year, a strong majority of voters in Arizona support legalizing marijuana.

“When voters were asked about legalization of marijuana, 53% approve and 39% disapprove”, states the poll. “Democrats (66%) and Independents (62%) are in strong support for legalization, while only 32% of Republicans support legalization, 61% oppose.”

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