As the date for signatures to be turned in for the Arizona campaigns hoping to legalize marijuana for adult use draws nearer, one of the two campaigns has decided to drop out. However, the reasoning behind it is not quite as simple as one would think. The group, Arizonans for Mindful Regulation, has decided to end its petition gathering efforts – even though some petitioners wanted to continue until the deadline.
Those running the campaign have decided not to continue for the 2016 elections, promising that they will be back in full swing in 2018 – but for now they intend to focus their efforts on a Vote No campaign to hopefully put an end to a competition campaign, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in Arizona. Last year, the two initiatives were actually the same – but Medar and the rest of the AZFMR group decided to split off from the group backed by Marijuana Policy Project because they believed the initiative was not permissive enough.
Changes between the two initiatives include the number of dispensaries that would be allowed within the state, which the CRMLA initiative allows 150 or so and the AZFMR initiative would allow around 1500. The AZFMR wording also does not put a cap on the amount of cannabis that can be grown in a residential home and would reduce penalties for black market cannabis dealers. They have gone as far as to call the CRMLA initiative “fake legalization”.
One question that comes up when a campaign like this drops out – especially when they drop out to oppose a similar campaign – is where are all the donation funds going? Obviously, there will be a number of people who don’t want to see their previous donation towards legalization to now go towards ending it until a certain initiative has the chance to pass. The group has at least made it clear that donations will be kept completely separate – and they are taking new donations for the new campaign.
“If you previously made a financial contribution to our ‘Campaign to Legalize Marijuana,’ that money stays with THAT Campaign,” the message reads. “If you want to make a financial contribution to the Vote NO Campaign, you will need to make a new contribution.”
While having only one question on the ballot will be better for the chances of the CRMLA initiative passing this fall, the fact that another campaign is fighting against them is a little discouraging. Even if there are differences – it would be better to come together as one group to fight for the cause, rather than leading separate campaigns and lowering your chances of passing a successful initiative.