Pubdate: Fri, 15 Apr 2016
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2016 The Arizona Republic
Author: EJ Montini


We live in a state where it appears that marijuana smokers are more 
inclined to offer tax money for education than state legislators. On 
the bright side, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol 
announced this week that it has collected more than 200,000 
signatures for a November ballot initiative that would end marijuana 
prohibition in Arizona.

The campaign needs to collect 150,642 valid signatures.

A local backer of the initiative sent me a note saying, "Is 200,000 
signatures a milestone or a milestoned?"

Why shouldn't there be fun in politics?

In a statement, campaign Chairman J.P. Holyoak said, "Voters want to 
have their say on whether Arizona should end marijuana prohibition. 
It's appearing more and more likely that they are going to have that 
opportunity. We're finding that most Arizonans agree marijuana should 
be regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol."

Not long ago, Arizona was named by the real-estate website Estately 
blog as one of the top 10 best states for marijuana enthusiasts to 
live and buy a home. It's about to get even better, maybe. There will 
be a big money campaign to fight the initiative. But it's difficult 
to fight common sense. And legalizing marijuana makes sense.

The initiative would bring in a tremendous amount of tax revenue and 
save money spent on needless law enforcement, while permitting adults 
to purchase small amounts of marijuana.

To sweeten the deal, the initiative's authors funnel a lot of that 
tax money to education.

Something state lawmakers haven't done much of lately.

But we're already seeing how the opposition will use scare tactics to 
try to defeat the initiative. The vice-chair of the so-called 
Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, Yavapai County Attorney Shelia 
Polk, along with radio talkshow host Seth Leibson, wrote a letter to 
the editor of The Arizona Republic saying, among other things, that 
youngsters will use more marijuana if the proposition passes and that 
marijuana is more potent than it was before.

First, if we legalize marijuana it can be regulated and sold only to 
adults. Plus, the marijuana will be subject to product testing.

But if the argument against legalizing pot is that teens might use 
more marijuana, we're going to have to revise and revoke several 
laws. Re-institute prohibition so kids can't get alcohol. Outlaw 
cigarettes for the same reason. Ban R-rated movies, which aren't 
supposed to admit youngsters without an accompanying adult but, come 
on, we've all seen kids in theaters.

Not long ago a reader told me he had a theory about why he believed a 
marijuana legalization initiative would pass in a state with such an 
arch-conservative, reactionary Legislature.

"Since we can't get them to mellow out," he told me, "we'll have to."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom