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PHOENIX -- A Democratic state lawmaker said he will introduce a bill that will legalize marijuana and regulate and tax it much as alcohol.

Rep. Ruben Gallego said putting people in prison for marijuana possession was not a wise use of taxpayer dollars and ruined the lives of countless people who are harming no one. He said police could shift resources to handling more serious crimes.

Gallego, assistant minority House leader, wanted pot sold in stores to people 21 years and older.

Gallego, who grew up in Phoenix, is a Marine Corps veteran of the war in Iraq. He said Tuesday that he has never smoked marijuana.

The bill would likely have a tough time passing the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Associated Press,

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