AZ rec cannabis campaign files signatures for ballot

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An Arizona campaign to legalize recreational marijuana on Thursday filed 258,582 signatures with the secretary of state’s office, a week in advance of the July 7 deadline.

The total far exceeds the 150,642 valid signatures required to get the initiative on the 2016 general election ballot.

The organization behind the measure, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said in a press release that the secretary of state is expected to either certify it for the ballot or reject it by late August.

Campaign chairman J.P. Holyoak said in the release that supporters have been “very encouraged by the strong levels of support and enthusiasm we found among voters during the petition drive.”

If approved by voters, the initiative would likely allow for around 147 new business licenses. Most of those would almost certainly go to existing licensed medical cannabis companies, which are required by law to be vertically integrated.

The system would also be further tilted in favor of existing MMJ businesses because they would be allowed to grow unlimited amounts of adult-use cannabis, while new entrants would first have to prove their viability on a smaller scale before being allowed to expand their growing capacity.