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Petition seeks to ask Arizona voters to legalize recreational marijuana use

PHOENIX -- A petition drive has been launched to place a question on the Arizona ballot asking voters to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes.

The initiative, proposing to amend the Constitution, was filed Wednesday, June 12, by Dennis Bohlke, a Phoenix resident and owner of a small technology company.

“It’s a matter of human rights,” Mr. Bohlke said. “I don’t believe the constitution applies to whether we can use marijuana or not.”

Arizona already permits marijuana use for medicinal purposes only. Washington state and Colorado now allow recreational use.

Mr. Bohlke said a total of 259,213 valid signatures of Arizonans must be collected by July 3, 2014, to place the measure on next year’s ballot.

“I’m going to see what happens,” he said.

Mr. Bohlke said he modeled his proposal after Colorado’s law.

He said he talked to several Arizona legislators about the proposal. He said he has been unable to convince anyone to put forth legislation on the issue, so he’s taking the effort directly to the public.

The proposal reads in part, “…amending the Constitution of Arizona by adding Article XXXI Marijuana Regulation and Taxation, therewith, providing for the regulation of Marijuana; permitting a voting age person to consume or possess limited amounts of Marijuana; providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores; permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities; requiring the legislature to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of Marijuana; requiring half of the revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to Arizona Department of Health Services.

News editor Jeff Grant can be reached at jgrant@newszap.com or 623-445-2805.

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