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Mon, May 20

Effort to legalize pot makes splash in Yavapai County

Dani Welch of Tucson talks with Jim Rhoda of Prescott Valley about Initiative 14. Welch and other campaign volunteers are in the greater Prescott area for a week of gathering signatures for an initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona.
Photo by Les Bowen.

Dani Welch of Tucson talks with Jim Rhoda of Prescott Valley about Initiative 14. Welch and other campaign volunteers are in the greater Prescott area for a week of gathering signatures for an initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona.

PRESCOTT VALLEY – Advocates for legalizing recreational marijuana hope to make a mark this week in what they deem unfriendly territory.

“We need to fire up all the counties for a signature drive,” said Stacey Theis, of Phoenix, owner of the Cannabus – a brightly colored bus that arrived in Prescott Valley on Tuesday, May 10, and will be in the Mayer Daze parade Saturday.

She pointed to Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk along with Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery as the state’s most outspoken opponents to legalizing marijuana.

“They are our drug war opponents in Arizona,” Theis said.

She’s one of several volunteers for the Campaign to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana, Yes in I-14-2016.

Initiative 14 is one of two efforts underway to allow production and sale of marijuana for recreational uses.

In all, there are four initiatives that could change state laws related to marijuana.

Initiative 6 is an effort to eliminate the application fee for medical marijuana. Initiative 15 would allow farmers to grow hemp with very low psychoactive properties.

Both Initiative 14 and Initiative 8 would repeal the state’s felony penalty for recreational marijuana.

Gregory Foxx of Black Canyon City was outside Pizza Hut in Prescott Valley on Tuesday afternoon collecting signatures for Initiative 14.

He said both Initiative 8 and Initiative 14 would end criminal penalties for adults who possess or use limited amounts of marijuana. Both would set a tax on marijuana sales.

He said Initiative 8 is friendlier to dispensaries, while Initiative 14 focuses more on end-users.

“We place more power to the people,” he said.

Foxx highlighted the post-conviction relief aspects of Initiative 14.

“People doing prison time for a cannabis-related offense could have their sentence reduced or thrown out,” he said.

Foxx said at last count, the campaign for Initiative 14 had gathered about 120,000 signatures. They’ll need more than 150,000 filed by July 7 to get on the November general election ballot, and the campaign’s goal is to have about 220,000, as signatures and addresses must match information on voter records.

“We’ll be working in Prescott and Prescott Valley, really saturating this area,” Theis said, adding that her bus will be in the area until May 17.

She said in addition to the signature drive, she’s working on educational efforts.

“Anywhere we get invited, but also anywhere we can take advantage of public speaking, like city councils,” Theis said. “We exercise our freedom in peace, love and cannabis fashion.”

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