With a little over a month left to gather the needed number of signatures to put the question of marijuana legalization on the November ballot, those gathering petitions are working harder than ever. Currently, those running Arizona’s Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol have collected a total of 215,000 signatures, with a goal of 230,000 by their July 7th deadline. Of those 230,000 only 150,000 will need to be validated to land Initiative 5 on the ballots this fall.
“As we finish the signature drive and launch the final stage of the campaign, we anticipate that our opponents will be ramping up their efforts,” stated CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak.
Just as we expect from any state who is hoping to legalize marijuana in any capacity, there is quite a bit of resistance against Initiative 5 – and a good portion of it appears to be coming from the alcohol industry. The anti-legalization campaign ran by Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy is being funded by outside donations as well as a $10,000 donation from Arizona Wine and Spirits Wholesale Association – who said they are not inclined to make a statement.
“It is simply inappropriate and objectionable for those who profit from the sale of alcohol to use those profits to prohibit adults from using a less harmful substance,” said the chairman of the Arizona pro-legalization campaign, J.P. Holyoak, in a press release last week urging the money be returned.
It was only a month and a half ago that the very same legalization campaign called out an attorney who had accepted donations from the liquor industry, asking them to prove that alcohol was safer, or give back all the contributions. This came after the lawyer made statements that marijuana was too dangerous for it to be legalized for adult use. It appears almost everyone who wants to keep marijuana outlawed in the state is perfectly fine with intoxication, as long as it’s by alcohol.
“I think it’s a big deal for the opposition campaign that is galavanting around Arizona claiming they are concerned about public health, yet they are taking money from purveyors of a more dangerous substance,” he (Mason Tvert, Marijuana Policy Project) says. “We aren’t opposed to alcohol but we are opposed to hypocrisy.”
As the deadline approaches, we will soon know whether or not recreational marijuana will be on the ballot this November – but even once it is approved, there are still months to go to keep the issue in the front of voter’s minds, and to convince those who are uncertain about their stance on recreational marijuana that this is the only way to end the black market, the needless arrests and crime that all stems from prohibition.