Most AZ voters against legalizing pot, poll says

Posted at 6:04 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 23:37:21-04

"Sign here to legalize" reads a paper at Paraphernalia Boutique, a smoke shop in north Phoenix. But will it happen? Or will we even see a marijuana initiative on the ballot?

It looks promising.  

Special section: Where pot legalization stands in Arizona

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) recently surpassed 200,000 signatures on its petition. If 150,642 of the signatures are valid, voters will see the initiative in November.

"The level of interest in signing our petition seems to grow as people learn more about marijuana and the specifics of the initiative," CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak said. "The simple truth is that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and marijuana prohibition has been just as big of a failure as alcohol prohibition. Arizonans think it's time for a more sensible approach, and that's exactly what we're proposing."

But even if the initiative makes the ballot, voters have to approve it.  

“The more they learn about what's in it, the less they favor it. Support goes down," Seth Leibsohn, of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP), said.

ARDP recently conducted a poll in Arizona that revealed 49 percent of likely voters are against legalizing marijuana use, 43 percent are in favor and the remaining 8 percent are undecided. CRMLA isn't deterred by the findings.

"We look forward to a vigorous campaign informing voters of the benefits of ending the failed policy of prohibition," CRMLA spokesman Barrett Marsen said in a written statement. "By regulating and taxing marijuana, we benefit our schools and keep it out of the hands of teens."

The group has until July 7 to turn in all of the signatures.