POLITICS

AZ group urges pot buyers to 'Buy American, not Mexican' in pro-legalization campaign

SAFED, ISRAEL - MARCH 07: (ISRAEL OUT)  Packed cannabis at the growing facility of the Tikun Olam company on March 7, 2011 near the northern city of Safed, Israel. In conjunction with Israel's Health Ministry, Tikon Olam are currently distributing cannabis for medicinal purposes to over 1800 people in Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

SAFED, ISRAEL - MARCH 07: (ISRAEL OUT) Packed cannabis at the growing facility of the Tikun Olam company on March 7, 2011 near the northern city of Safed, Israel. In conjunction with Israel's Health Ministry, Tikon Olam are currently distributing cannabis for medicinal purposes to over 1800 people in Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)  (2011 Getty Images)

Buy American, not Mexican.

That’s the advice of a group in Arizona that's trying to get marijuana legalized in the Grand Canyon state.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol plans to unveil a billboard in Tempe trumpeting that, if the controlled substance were legalized, Arizonans would be able to "Buy American and Support Schools, Not Cartels" with their purchases.

The campaign, which needs 150,642 signatures to put the matter onto the ballot this November, argues that if Arizona residents were able to buy marijuana legally in the state, they would not be giving their money to Mexico’s violent drug cartels that smuggle in much of the state’s pot supply.

While the amount of marijuana smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico has declined in recent years – due in part to the legalization of the drug in certain U.S. states like Colorado and to production of higher potency pot in the U.S. – the cartels remain a major supplier along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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“If Arizona regulates marijuana,” the billboard says, according to the Arizona Republic. “Adults could buy American.”

The campaign is advocating for the drug to be legalized for recreational use. If approved, the measure would establish shops similar to those in Washington and Colorado, and there would be a 15 percent tax on all products sold in the stores.

The taxed proceeds could be used to fund public health initiatives and education, including full-day kindergarten.

A recent study by the Tax Foundation found that the state could see as much as $113 million in new tax revenue if it legalized the sale of marijuana.

The proposed Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would allow adults who are 21 years of age or older to have up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes without obtaining licenses. It would also create a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the "cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation and sale of marijuana."

While the campaign says it will soon turn in the required number of signatures needed to make the ballot to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, the proposal faces stiff opposition from a number of powerful lawmakers in the state who argue legalizing marijuana would be damaging to Arizona's quality of life.

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