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Advocates eyeing 2020 to get recreational pot on the Arizona ballot

Posted at 10:20 PM, Dec 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-06 12:34:44-05

With the 2018 election behind us, marijuana advocates are already eyeing 2020 as their next chance to get recreational pot on the Arizona ballot. 

"They're ready, and they don't want to go through the same mistakes we made in the past," explains Mikel Weisser from the Arizona chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. 

Weisser says a group known as the Arizona Dispensaries Association is already hard at work on what could become the 2020 ballot initiative. 

"From what I understand, the ADA has been battling over their internal drafting for months." 

ABC15 reached out to the ADA but has not heard back yet.  

Weisser says part of what didn't work in prior attempts, like 2016's Prop 205, was branding. He says ahead of the 2020 vote; there will be a big push to use terms like "Adult Use" and "Commercial" over "Recreational."

"The idea is that 'recreation' sounds like a party, which sounds like reckless, and so it creates a negative stigma."

Weisser expects the new initiative would also include provisions on home cultivation, reforming DUI laws and also funding. He tells us, he'd like to see some of the money raised through sales to fund law enforcement. 

Bottom line, wherever the money ends up going, Weisser believes this time around, the ballot measure would have enough votes to pass. 

"The ADA has spent the last two years doing consistent polling to find out what works and what doesn't work with the Arizona voter."

According to Weisser, the ADA should be finished drafting their ballot measure sometime in January. He expects a number of sides and groups to weigh in before it's made public, perhaps sometime in March. 

In 2018, organizers failed to get enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot. In 2016, Prop 205 failed by less than three percentage points.