Organizers submit signatures for legalizing weed

It's a big step in the effort to legalize marijuana in Arizona. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted thousands of signatures to get the initiative on the November ballot.

The requirement to get the initiative on the November ballot was about 150,000 signatures. Supporters claim they've submitted close to 260,000 to the Secretary of State.

"For us frankly, this came rather easy. The public overwhelmingly supports this, we're seeing that, and this behind me is evidence," said J.P. Holyoak.

Organizers say legalizing marijuana for recreational use will lower teen use, addiction rates, and raise millions.

"Our message to the public of ending the failed policies of prohibition and using that money to fund our schools, rather than sending it to criminal drug dealers or cartels because that's truly our choice," said Holyoak.

Those who oppose the initiative disagree with his claims. Seith Leibsohn with Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy says little good can come from legalizing the drug. He says in two years we could see $30 million for education.

"With 30 million dollars, you're not going to build a single school; you're not going to buy any text books for any of the students. You're looking at about 30 dollars a month for teachers," said Leibsohn.

If it's legalized Leibsohn says people will be able to buy one ounce, but can grow 12 plants per two-person household. Because of the voter protection act, the number of dispensaries could vary.

"There are varying levels over the years of the numbers of dispensaries that will be allowed to be owned, those limits; those ceilings are blown off the roof in 2021. So we could have unlimited numbers of dispensaries. As it's written now, over the next four years we could see several hundred, perhaps 600 marijuana establishments in the state of Arizona," said Leibsohn.

The Secretary of State says all signatures will have to be verified. If they are accurate, Arizona voters could vote on the initiative come November.