Arizona Marijuana-Legalization Bill Will Be Proposed by House Democrat

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Assistant House Minority Leader Ruben Gallego, a Phoenix Democrat, announced plans to introduce a marijuana-legalization bill during the upcoming legislative session.

Gallego, an Iraq War veteran, said he's working on a bill "that would regulate and tax marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol."

(Before we get ahead of ourselves, yes, Republicans still have a healthy majority in both chambers of the Legislature, and several Republicans still try to fight the state's voter-approved medical marijuana program.)

What Gallego is proposing isn't anything radically different from laws in states like Colorado and Washington, which have legalized marijuana for personal use.

He says the bill will allow people 21 years old and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and no more than five plants.

The legislation also would set up a ban on smoking it in public and establish regulations for places that can sell marijuana. The bill also will include an excise tax on pot sales, which "distributes the tax proceeds to fund public education and treatment programs for alcohol and drug abuse, with half of the money going to the state general fund."

Gallego released a statement saying:
"The issue of marijuana regulation is pragmatic. Regulating marijuana takes sales off the street and puts them in a controlled environment. Ultimately, this will help law enforcement, especially in times when resources are limited. About 750,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana-related offenses in 2012, and the majority of those arrests were simply for possession. Law enforcement officers' time and resources would be better spent addressing serious crimes, so that we are all safer. Additionally, we can use some of the money generated from the sales to pay for public education and treatment programs for alcohol and drug abuse."
According to a poll on the issue, a majority (56 percent) of Arizonans said they support marijuana legalization.

In addition to Gallego's legislation, a group called Safer Arizona is trying to collect 259,213 signatures by July 2014 to get the issue on ballots for voting to decide. The odds aren't exactly on the pro-legalization side for the petition, either, since Safer Arizona doesn't have major financial backing, which is pretty much a necessity for anyone looking to gather more than a quarter-million valid signatures.

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208 comments
Trommy
Trommy

I fully support this bill because I do not support Children having easy access to drugs.  Drug dealers don't card children, business owners do.  If you truly want to keep it out of the hands of children then make pot dealers obsolete.  And don't be foolish enough to think those same dealers aren't trying to sell your children other drugs.

I also support this because I don't support the cartels.  Anyone who wants to keep Cannabis illegal directly support the criminal cartels that sell it.  Take the sales away from pushers and put it in the hands of business.  Tax it and regulate like Alcohol. 

I do not know how any prohibitionist can not understand the big picture.  You'd have to be a completely inept thinker or have a hand in the cartels not to support legalized, taxed and regulated marijuana.  If you think it's only a handful of hippies that use pot you are wrong.  It's not going away and the best thing to do is accept that and do the right thing.  


James Hill
James Hill

its 35v% thc. thst now could be considered a hallucinogenic

Chip Quinn
Chip Quinn

Caroline, No, you don't get it! And, by your typical pothead/liberal answer I can also tell that you have never owned or ran a business. When a substance is legalized it is taxed, often at an exorbitant rate. The idea of business is to buy low and sell high. When there is already a supply line like the illegal one that runs through my home town due to the use of people like you, why pay taxes on it? Buy low, resell at a higher rate. Your utopian ideas are great, but not very likely. Oh, and by the way, "bootleg" IS illegal! It's not a grey area in any way shape or form.

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

Arizona can use more sales taxes. People employed to run green houses. Less court time wasted for arrests of non-violent criminals and their incarceration. Police have better things to do, so do prosecutors and defense attorneys. Win-win situation.

Caroline Maul
Caroline Maul

You don't seem to get it. In Washington state, they have marijuana cigarette dispensers. When it's legal, it goes to manufacturing you butthead. Worse you will ever find are bootleggers, not smugglers...like they have in the big cities selling bootlegged cigarettes, tax free, out of the back of a van or truck, because they were stolen. And for your information, I don't know of anyone who has ever bought a pack of bootlegged cigs from someplace. They go into Circle K or the grocery store. If pot is legalized and regulated, that is were it will end up, and sales treated like they do alcohol. Unlike what you might think, the vast majority of Americans are not so stupid to believe that there will be a huge market for smuggled pot cigarettes, when why go through that hassle, when you can get them from a few stores down town for the same cost as a pack of smokes or something.

Roberto Murphy
Roberto Murphy

Yes and just tax it like alcohol......but yes yes legalize

Joe Abrahamson
Joe Abrahamson

Its no worse than Jack Daniels. Legalize it for anyone over 21 and tax it...

David Bills
David Bills

The BEST Paper and Cloth in the World are HEMP!! Just because of that Cannabis should be legal! I abuse sugar and milk all of the time and have to deal with my weight. We need things to be of choice. The World will NEVER be safe, no matter HOW MANY laws we pass.

Caleb Joseph Quintana
Caleb Joseph Quintana

Chip Quinn, ever heard of Michael Phelps? He was so lazy he won gold medals.

Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith

I disagree about the smuggling aspect increasing. I do, however, think drug trafficking will always exist. War on weed is a farce.

Bruce Salvage
Bruce Salvage

Its already legal where i live now,near seattle and no,all you right wing bible thumpers who are against this,calling it a gateway drug blah blah blah-The sky did NOT fall,and mass waves of school children did not light up like you thought they would..idiots..

Adam Nollmeyer
Adam Nollmeyer

What I feel is equally interesting is Republicans understand criminals dont obey gun laws yet most believe making drugs illegal will stop people.

Adam Nollmeyer
Adam Nollmeyer

What I find interesting is that democrats realize the war on drugs is senseless but believe that banning guns will stop criminals from getting them.

Krista Peterson
Krista Peterson

Oh wait! We did that and it didn't work! Make politicians illegal, there.

Don Menefee
Don Menefee

Its obvious people want it, let them have it. It's already starting elsewhere the Feds are leaving it up to states. Some of the critics say its a gateway drug. I'm sorry was around it for years and the people that were going to do hard drugs didn't go to something stronger because Pot wasn't doing it for them. The majority of the people into it have used it by itself and feel no craving to go to anything stronger. Grow it, tax it and sell it. Its time to get out of peoples life on a drug that people go to sleep on and aren't causing all the break-in's and robberies and causing mischief. Have you ever heard of a policeman or someone in the public attacked because someone was so high on pot?

Woody Johnson
Woody Johnson

the freedom part of me says yes but the sober part does not need another highly marketed product that potentially costs the working poor money and makes corporations rich. how about simply decriminalize it. make it a misdemeanor with a heft fine?

Chip Quinn
Chip Quinn

Hell no! The thing you folks all seem to miss is the fact that no matter how cheap and legal a taxed item is, there is always a smuggler working to get it out there that much cheaper, and without tax. If you think legalizing it will stop smuggling, you are dead wrong. It will simply increase it. Along with it, from our friends down south will come larger supplies of the harder stuff they already move through our town and state. I too can't stand the smell of it, can't stand to be on it, and have never known ANYBODY that uses it habitually to be anything other than a lazy ass. This particular point in the world's history is NOT the time to encourage a whole new class of lazy assed people to support....

Joan Castillo
Joan Castillo

Yes yes and yes...I personally do not have a medical card or real major health issue..buuuut I love me a good joint!!!!!

Andrew Zemblowski
Andrew Zemblowski

About fucking time. But the feds need to wise up. They have no clue about what people want.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Krista, perhaps you aren't familiar with Prohibition?

Alcohol was illegal for a 15-year period from 1918-1933. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, which banned alcohol.

crzybaldhead
crzybaldhead

@Chip Quinn Exactly, like the beer wine and liquor smugglers running rampant across the country. As far as habitual users, any successful members of society that smoke regularly are smart enough to know that they can't be public about it without risking losing everything they've worked so hard for. You'd be very surprised...Carl Sagan, Morgan Freeman, Michael Phelps, Mayor Bloomberg, Ted Turner, Phil Jackson, Young Bill Gates, Young Bill Clinton, Young Barack Obama. A whole new class of lazy people? Lazy people are lazy, vibrant people are vibrant. You're mixing up cause and effect

crzybaldhead
crzybaldhead

@Chip Quinn Exactly, like the beer wine and liquor smugglers running rampant across the country. As far as habitual users, any successful members of society that smoke regularly are smart enough to know that they can't be public about it without risking losing everything they've worked so hard for. You'd be very surprised...Carl Sagan, Morgan Freeman, Michael Phelps, Mayor Bloomberg, Ted Turner, Phil Jackson, Young Bill Gates, Young Bill Clinton, Young Barack Obama. A whole new class of lazy people? Lazy people are lazy, vibrant people are vibrant. You're mixing up cause and effect

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