Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative Likely in 2016

Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative Likely in 2016

PHOENIX, AZ — Marijuana legalization supporters in Arizona say a ballot initiative aimed at allowing adults to purchase and possess marijuana is likely to come in 2016.

While a campaign is currently underway in an attempt to place a similar measure on the ballot in the midterm elections in November, a successful campaign in 2016 is more likely to attract the financial backers needed to place the measure on the ballot.

Organizers of an effort to place a constitutional amendment allowing adults 18 or older to purchase, possess or consume limited amounts of marijuana on the November 2014 ballot say they have collected less than 10,000 of the nearly 300,000 signatures needed by July.

Unlike marijuana law reform campaigns underway in other states for the 2014 elections, the current Arizona drive has no major financial backing to fund signature gathering.

“We still are behind schedule on getting petition signatures,” said Dennis Bohlke, of Safer Arizona, who is leading the effort, which began last June.

Bohlke added that he isn’t yet ready to give up on the 2014 drive.

“We’ve got high hopes,” he said. “But I don’t want to sound unrealistic.”

While the 2014 signature campaign remains underway — volunteers can visit Safer Arizona’s website to volunteer for the campaign, or print out petition sheets — one of the architects of Colorado’s successful 2012 Amendment 64 marijuana legalization effort, which recently saw the first retail sales in the state, says that marijuana legalization in Arizona is very likely to come in 2016.

Marijuana Policy Project Communications Director Mason Tvert says significant funding will be needed to pay for signature gathering for the initiative to qualify for the ballot, and because voter turnout is significantly higher in presidential elections, marijuana legalization efforts are more likely to be successful.

“That’s why we’re doing it in 2016,” Tvert says. “It’s a presidential-election year, and traditionally, the more people who vote, the more support we see for ending marijuana prohibition.”

Arizona is among the six states that the Marijuana Policy Project plans to target in the 2016 elections, joining CaliforniaMaineMassachusettsMontana, and Nevada in their quest for marijuana legalization.

Arizona has allowed medical marijuana since 2011, and the first dispensaries in the state opened last year.

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  • Chris

    I
    posted this question to Mr Humble who runs the Arizona Medical
    Marijuana program here but apparently my comments are not valid enough
    for his response. Also Arizona’s top supposed Marijuana Lawyer Jeff
    Kaufman seems to be only interested in making money off us not truly
    supporting us. So there needs to be some clarification concerning the
    rights of Medical Marijuana card holders pertaining to being denied and
    discriminated against being hired due to testing positive for THC. There
    seems to be a fine line here. It has been determined that Marijuana is a
    medicine for legal card holders. Being a medicine should mean it is no
    different than ANY other prescribed controlled substance. With that said
    new hepa privacy laws challenge whether “legal” card holders should be
    tested at all by employers. I have been denied employment now 8 times in
    a year and am being forced out of the work force due to employers STILL
    discriminating against my choice in pain management. So now I have to
    apply for food stamps, housing, etc. when I am perfectly able to work. I
    would never use a drug that would impair me at work marijuana included.
    I take pride in my job and I should be respected to properly medicate
    only when at home and do not operate a vehicle while using any drug that
    may impair.me. Under NO circumstances should ANY employer deny or
    discriminate against hiring ANYONE for medical Marijuana use. What is
    being done to stop this from happening? I respect Mr. Humble and
    appreciate all he has done with this program. However this issue needs
    to be addressed ASAP as the number of people being denied employment is
    growing. And so is the tax payers money going toward supporting us now
    that we can not be hired. Thank you so much for your time here. Please
    help get us back to work Mr.Humble
    – See more at:
    http://blog.norml.org/2014/02/12/18-members-of-congress-call-on-president-obama-to-remove-marijuana-from-schedule-i/comment-page-1/#comment-223934

  • http://mealer2012.com jlmealer

    Actually, I will legalize this and bring hundreds of millions in state revenue on cannabis, medical cannabis Bio-Medicine (to kill the opiate medical craze) and industrial hemp. Investors are already lined up. I am the only Arizona gubernatorial candidate who is openly speaking about legalizing and removing felonies for cannabis related charges. http://jlmealer.com