(Phoenix) – Smart & Safe Arizona, a citizens initiative to legalize cannabis for adult use in Arizona, will file 420,000 signatures with the Arizona Secretary of State today, significantly more than the 237,645 signatures required to qualify for ballot access.
The campaign began collecting signatures in September 2019, raised more than $3 million to date, and is confident it will pass on November 3.
“Arizonans are ready to legalize cannabis and this is the right policy for our state,” said Arizona Dispensary Association President Steve White, CEO of Harvest Health and Recreation. “New jobs and revenue are even more critical, today, than when we embarked on this campaign last year.”
An independent, May 2020 poll from Arizona public affairs firm HighGround confirmed the measure’s popularity – 65 percent of the poll’s 400 respondents planned to vote “yes.”
When passed, the measure will:
- Legalize the sale, possession and consumption of one ounce of marijuana (of which 5 grams can be concentrate) for adults at least 21 years old.
- Generate $300 million annually in new revenue that is specifically dedicated to community colleges, public safety, public health programs, and roads and highways.
- Create thousands of good-paying jobs across Arizona.
- Ban smoking marijuana in public places like restaurants and open spaces like sidewalks and parks.
- Require all packaging be childproof and labeled, ban advertising to children and ban the sale of gummy bears, gummy worms and other products that resemble kids’ candy.
- Increase penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana and gives police departments funding for training, equipment and task forces.
- Gives the state and local health departments millions of dollars annually for addiction prevention, substance abuse treatment, suicide prevention, mental health programs and other justice reinvestment projects that create opportunities for communities disproportionately impacted by the failed drug war.
- Allow employers and property owners to prohibit use at their workplaces and on their property, like they do currently.
- Do the right thing by providing an option for folks who were previously convicted of low-level marijuana charges to have their criminal records expunged so they have fair access to jobs and housing.
- Limit the amount of THC (the chemical responsible for the “high” in marijuana) to 10 milligrams per serving of edible products.
- Give the Arizona Department of Health Services the authority to oversee the safe sale of marijuana, including testing and inspecting products sold.
- Free up police to focus on real crime and hard drugs and unclogs the justice system which is currently backlogged with minor offenses.
Opposition to the measure has been negligible.