Advocates of legalizing marijuana got to work this week, seeking signatures from registered Arizona voters as they fight to place the issue on the 2020 ballot.
Supporters refiled the “Smart and Safe Arizona Act” with the Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday, after updating the measure to allow more people previously convicted of marijuana possession to have their records expunged.
Under the updated measure, anyone arrested for or convicted of possessing 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana can petition to have that record erased.
The revised act, which is being funded by medical marijuana dispensaries, also allows for 26 additional retail licenses to be offered to “individuals from communities disproportionately impacted” by marijuana laws.” These new “social equity” licenses would bring the total number of retail sites in Arizona to about 160, the Arizona Republic reported.
The revision also updated the measure’s marijuana potency limits, and now states that the Department of Health Services “shall limit the strength of an edible product to no more than ten milligrams” per serving.
The measure would still allow anyone 21 and older to have up to an ounce of marijuana, but also includes clauses to address concerns from public safety officials, localities and other groups who are expected to oppose the measure.
If passed, the Smart and Safe Arizona Act would mostly limit retail sales to existing medical marijuana dispensary locations and place an excise tax of 16% on sales, in addition to existing state sales taxes.
Revenue from the program would primarily go towards funding community colleges and municipal police and fire departments.
The campaign needs to collect 237,645 valid voter signatures by July 2, 2020 to qualify for the November 2020 ballot.
If the measure succeeds and lands on the ballot, it would face narrow odds of passage. A recent poll from OH Predictive Insights surveyed 600 likely 2020 voters in Arizona and found that 50% support such marijuana legalization, while 40% oppose it and 10% are undecided.