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Legalization will not be on the ballot in Arizona this year

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Legalization will not be on the ballot in Arizona this year

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Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

A group called Safer Arizona has failed to get enough signatures to get legalization on the ballot in Arizona in 2018—only collecting around half of the 150,625 signatures needed. They’re not stopping now, though, because the group told Cannabis News Box they plan to try again in 2020.

“Activists are mobilizing for another ballot initiative in 2020,” the group said in an email. “There is the hope that consumers and the industry can come to a consensus on certain items so as to avoid the specter of competing initiatives and ensure there is adequate funding and support to get meaningful reform on the ballot. Legislative lobbying efforts are also being explored.”

Safer Arizona said that they did not have enough volunteers and financing to get the signatures needed this time around, but they plan to have everything they need next time. None of the people who helped were paid, and they claim they didn’t get enough support from the local cannabis industry. They also claimed Facebook was censoring their social media presence.

They believe Arizonans support legalization, but it may be that some are still afraid to say so. A poll from February found over 62 percent of the state supports legalization, which is on par with the nation as a whole.

“Some still fear retribution for openly endorsing it, perhaps confusing support for a change in the law with support for breaking it, or equating support for legalization as support for drug abuse, as opposed to support for human rights, public education, and the environment,” the group said.

In terms of why they want to legalize cannabis, Safer Arizona said that a big part of the reason is that it would be a much-needed criminal justice reform. This is a message that has resonated in campaigns to legalize in many other states.

“The criminalization of cannabis has resulted in countless injustices against innocent men, women, and children throughout our state, ranging from incarceration and extortion to the confiscation of life-saving medicine,” they said. “It is time to stop wasting tax dollars imprisoning cannabis consumers and start raising funds for public services we actually need. Legalization and decriminalization are the only way to accomplish all of these goals with a single vote.”

Arizona voters may not get to vote on legalization this time around, but with the support it currently has, it seems quite possible they’ll be voting to legalize in 2020. That is, unless something happens on the federal level before then.

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Legalization will not be on the ballot in Arizona this year