This week, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol got the good news that their petition gathering efforts were successful – they collected more than the needed number of signatures and their initiative has qualified for the November ballot. The Secretary of State certified the initiative Thursday as Proposition 205 – also known as the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. Now the campaign can refocus their efforts from signature gathering, to promoting what a “Yes” vote will mean on Prop 205.
There is still a little shakiness to this, however, as the initiative is under fire in the courts, being sued by a group called Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy. They filed the lawsuit about a month ago, claiming that the initiative is misrepresenting everything that will follow if it is voted in. The courts are scheduled to hear the case this Friday August 12th, and hopefully they will either side with the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, or insist on some rewriting of the summary as other states courts have done.
“Eighty-three years ago, Arizona voters approved a ballot measure to repeal the failed policy of alcohol prohibition,” said J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the Yes on 205 campaign. “This November, we will have the opportunity to end the equally disastrous policy of marijuana prohibition. Prop 205 would establish a more sensible system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.”
If passed, Proposition 205 would allow residents 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. It would also create an industry quite similar to the one growing in Colorado, with licensed cultivation, testing and retail facilities – all subject to strict regulations. There will also be a tax placed on the plant that is expected to earn the state at least $123 million in annual taxes by the time we reach 2020 – which would also mean $55 million annually that would go to K-12 schools as well as full-day kindergarten programs.
Voters seem to be overwhelmingly supportive of this campaign so far, and it is clear all the benefits that will come from legalization, just look at Colorado, Washington and Oregon! Hopefully the pending lawsuit will not cost this campaign all their hard work – voters deserve the chance to decide whether or not to regulate marijuana and unless this court hearing changes things drastically, Arizona voters will get that chance this November.