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Official: Legalization of marijuana to appear on ballot in Arizona

Budtender Miles Claybourne sorts strains of marijuana for sale into glass containers at The Station, a retail and medical cannabis dispensary, in Boulder, Colo., Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The DEA announced Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 that the Obama administration will keep marijuana on the list of the most dangerous drugs, despite growing popular support for legalization, but will allow more research into its possible medical benefits. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

PHOENIX — Arizonans will get the chance to vote on legalizing marijuana in the state in November, state officials announced Thursday.

Secretary of State Michele Reagan notified Gov. Doug Ducey that the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, met the signature requirements for placement on the ballot.

The number of signatures reached the minimum required to place a measure on the general election ballot.

The state had hoped the signatures would be certified by Thursday.

If the Marijuana Act passed it would legalize marijuana for anyone over 21 years old. Arizonans would be allowed to have six marijuana plants per house, and marijuana sales would be subject to a 15 percent tax with the revenue from that going to education and health care.

It was believed in late June that the group — the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol — had the required 150,000 signatures to put the measure up to a vote. The total number of valid signatures was more than 177,000.

“Some people will say it (this moment) is momentous – historic,” campaign chair J.P. Holyoak said at the time. “I don’t agree with that. This is simply the first step in a process … of ending the failed policies of prohibition.”

The measure may face an uphill battle to win in November. A July poll conducted by O.H. Predictive Insights said slightly more than half of Arizona would vote against legalization.

“Thirty-nine percent of Arizonans would approve the measure while about 52.5 percent said they would vote ‘no,’ and then you’re sitting with about 8.5 percent undecided,” Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster of O.H. Predictive Insights, said.

Noble said that the measure appears to be losing because older Arizonans are more likely to vote.

“They tend to be more conservative, and I don’t think they are nearly as warmed up to the idea (of legalized marijuana) as millennials or the younger generation,” said Noble.

The initiative will be assigned Proposition 205.

KTAR’s Tyler Klaus and Bob McClay contributed to this report.

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