It was revealed this week that Arizona voters will decide on the issue of legalizing a recreational marijuana market in the upcoming November election.
State officials delivered the news to supporters of the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol campaign on Wednesday confirming that the group was successful in collecting the signatures needed to qualify for a spot on the ballot. According to Matt Roberts, a spokesperson for the Arizona Secretary of State, the organization managed to secure at least the 150,642 signatures the state requires to allow ballot measures to advance to the next level. However, he said the final count was expected to exceed the minimum requirement.
This means the “Arizona Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act,” which will go before the voters under the title Proposition 205, has a fighting chance at bringing legal weed to the adult citizens of the Grand Canyon State. The measure would legalize a retail cannabis trade that would allow anyone 21 and over to walk into a dispensary and buy a variety of cannabis products. It would also give residents the freedom to cultivate up to six plants for personal use.
While supporters are now gearing up for the official launch of the “Yes on 205” campaign, there are still some concerns that the entire effort could be foiled by a number of opposing forces that have emerged throughout the state. Later this week, the Maricopa County Superior Court will be asked to settle a lawsuit filed against the ballot measure suggesting that organizers were not forthright with the voting public during the signature collecting campaign. The suit, which was submitted by Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, claims the 100-word petition circulated by supporters of the pro-marijuana initiative does not provide a complete explanation of what it means to legalize weed.
“This is about the integrity of the initiative process,” Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, an integral part of the anti-pot lawsuit, recently told the Associated Press. “And there’s certain constitutional provisions and certain statutes that provide the framework that are focused on making sure voters understand what they are signing and understand what they are ultimately voting on. And if you don’t abide by those rules then you harm the integrity of the process.”
But supporters of Proposition 205 do not appear too worried about the possibility of a judge ruling against them. The general feeling is that the lawsuit is really just a last ditch effort by prohibitionists in their feeble plot to sabotage the fight to reform the marijuana laws in Arizona. The group feels confident Proposition 205 will be on the ballot.
“Eighty-three years ago, Arizona voters approved a ballot measure to repeal the failed policy of alcohol prohibition,” J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the Yes on 205 campaign, told HIGH TIMES in a statement. “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.”
But the question remains — will the state’s voters come out this November in support of marijuana legalization?
A recent poll conducted by the folks at MBQF Consulting and OH Predictive Insights indicates that they will not. The survey found that only 39.1 percent of the voters would cast a favorable response to the issue of legal weed, while 52.5 percent said they would oppose it. However, supporters of Proposition 205 recently told the Phoenix New Times that the “poll’s reliability must be called into question.”