Pubdate: Tue, 28 Jun 2016
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2016 The Arizona Republic
Author: Yvonne Wingett Sanchez


Marijuana supporters are launching a new "Buy American" theme in 
their campaign to legalize the drug for recreational use in Arizona.

On Tuesday, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol plans to 
unveil a billboard in Tempe lauding how Arizonans would be able to 
"Buy American and Support Schools, Not Cartels," if voters approve 
their legalization proposal in 2016.

A retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agent who investigated Mexican 
drug cartels will speak at a 10 a.m. news conference at the Tempe 
Marketplace shopping center.

The campaign, which has not yet turned in the 150,642 signatures 
needed to qualify for the November ballot, announced the plans in a 
Monday news advisory. The campaign is expected to soon turn its 
signatures in to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office.

"If Arizona regulates marijuana," the billboard says, "adults could 
buy American," instead of buying marijuana that has been illegally 
smuggled across the Mexican border into Arizona. The billboard also 
points out taxes collected from marijuana sales would "support 
schools, not cartels."

According to a Los Angeles Times story, Mexico is still a major 
marijuana supplier to the U.S., but its market share "is thought to 
have declined significantly," likely because of marijuana 
legalization by several U.S. states.

Arizona could see as much as $113 million in new tax revenue if it 
legalized marijuana for recreational use and imposed a 15 percent 
levy on the drug, according to a recent study by the nonpartisan Tax 

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol wants to ask voters 
to legalize the drug for recreational use. If approved, the measure 
would establish licensed shops where sales of the drugs would be 
taxed at 15 percent. The proceeds would fund education, including 
full-day kindergarten, and public health.

Under the proposed Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, adults 
21 and older could possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to 
six plants in their homes without obtaining licenses, as long as the 
plants are in a secure area. The initiative also would create a 
Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the 
"cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation and sale of marijuana."

Opponents of marijuana legalization have said potential revenues 
should not outweigh the potential costs of "bad public policy." 
Legalization, they have said, would be detrimental to education, 
public safety, public health and Arizona's quality of life. Business 
groups, wealthy donors and high-profile politicians - including 
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Yavapai County Attorney 
Sheila Polk and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey - oppose the initiative.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom