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Proposal to legalize recreational marijuana heads to Arizona voters in November

Proposal to legalize recreational marijuana heads to Arizona voters in November

  • Updated

PHOENIX — Arizona voters will get another chance to decide if they want adults to be able to smoke, drink or otherwise ingest marijuana without having a medical reason.

The state Supreme Court late Thursday upheld the decision of a trial judge that the 100-word description on the Smart and Safe Arizona Act “accurately described the proposition.” That clears the way for it to be on the November ballot.

The decision is a major setback for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which hired lawyers to try to keep the measure from voters. The business group now will seek to raise money in hopes of convincing people to reject it.

That’s what happened four years ago when an extensive campaign resulted in the defeat of a similar measure by about 4 percentage points.

Tucson has been a popular stop of Presidential candidates for more than 70 years. From Kennedy to Goldwater to Reagan, they harnessed the diverse electorate in Pima County. Photos are from the Tucson Citizen archives. Produced by Rick Wiley / Arizona Daily Star

But a recent survey finds widespread support for the proposal, with more than six out of every 10 likely voters polled saying they will support it if it’s on the ballot.

The query of 600 likely voters found just 32% say they’re definitely opposed, said pollster Mike Noble of OH Predictive Insights.

The measure would allow adults to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana or 12 plants at a time.

It would impose a 16% tax on sales, which proponents say would generate $300 million a year in new revenues to fund community colleges, public safety, health programs, and for the construction and repair of roads.

There also is a prohibition on sales to anyone younger than 21.

And the measure would bar the sale of marijuana products that resemble humans, animals, insects, fruits, toys or cartoons — think gummy bears — or the sale or advertising of marijuana with names or designs that imitate food or drink brands marketed to children.

The measure would allow local governments to enact “reasonable zoning regulations” that limit where dispensaries and testing facilities are, as well as to limit or prohibit outlets outright.

It also contains a provision that would allow anyone convicted of certain marijuana offenses before the law takes effect to have their record expunged.

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