Another year of ballot measures means another year of fundraising for efforts. With over 23 other states having some form of legal marijuana, two groups in Arizona are gearing up for their own confrontation.
From November 24, 2014 to December 31, 2015, Sheila Polk Yavapai County Attorney and her group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, have raised over $90 thousand towards keeping marijuana illegal. After spending on various expenses, they currently have about $70 thousand.
Leading the effort to legalize however, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol (CRMA) in Arizona has pulled in over $900 thousand, and spent about half on marketing and other expenses. Not only that, but they’ve collected around 150,000 signatures, the threshold required to get the initiative on the ballot, though their aim is much higher, around 250,000 in order to make sure they actually reach the target.
Like many other measures around the country, the goal is to allow legal adults, in this case those 21 and over to carry up to an ounce of cannabis on their person, or grow up to six plants without penalty. Also, a legitimate network of licensed stores would be set up and regulated.
These two campaign groups aren’t the only ones throwing money around however. Business groups, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry have given $10000 to the efforts of prohibition along with the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association.
A smaller group pushing for legalization is Arizonans for Mindful Regulation, which is backing another bill. The difference in the two legalization bills is slight, but dramatic, with medical marijuana dispensaries benefitting greatly from CRMA.
The battle will be hard fought however, as polls are showing a near 50/50 split in potential voters on the issue.
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