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Arizona group turns in signatures to put marijuana initiative on ballot

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

PHOENIX – Proponents of legalizing recreational marijuana filed the necessary signatures to the Secretary of State’s office Wednesday to put the initiative on Arizona’s November ballot.

Smart and Safe Arizona, a group aiming to legalize marijuana in the state, filed 420,000 ballot signatures, more than 237,000 necessary, to qualify for ballot access in the upcoming election.

The measure that the group is pushing for would legalize the sale, possession and consumption of one ounce of marijuana for people 21 years and older.

“Arizonans are ready to legalize cannabis, and this is the right policy for our state,” Arizona Dispensary Association President Steve White said in a press release Wednesday.

“New jobs and revenue are even more critical, today, than when we embarked on this campaign last year.”

The measure calls for a 16% tax on marijuana, which would fund the government’s cost of administering the program.

The remaining money would be used for community colleges, infrastructure, roads and highways, public safety and public health. The measure also allows people who have been arrested or convicted of some marijuana offenses, such as possessing, consuming or transporting 2.5 ounces or less, to petition to have their records expunged.

The group started collecting signatures in September and has raised more than $3 million.

In 2016, Arizona voters narrowly shot down Arizona Proposition 205 which would have legalized possession and consumption of marijuana.

Medical marijuana has been legalized in Arizona since 1996.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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