Monday, October 13, 2014

Orr Asks Fellow Lawmakers to Get Creative with Marijuana

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Republican Rep. Ethan Orr probably couldn't get marijuana/PTSD researcher Sue Sisley reinstated at the UA if he tried, but convincing his pot-paranoid fellow lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana to refill the state treasury?

Well, a guy can try—after all it's election season. Orr happens to be running for re-election for his District 9 seat.

Orr is looking at Colorado, which recently made marijuana legal and taxes, licenses and fees have brought the state more than $7 million so far.

H/T Arizona Republic:

Revenue projections provided Tuesday to the Legislature's Finance Advisory Committee predict the state will end this budget year with a $520 million deficit and an up to $1 billion deficit in the coming fiscal 2016.

"Given the massive budget shortfall we're facing, we need to look at revenue and I think this is a logical place we need to look," Orr said. "I think it's time to have an intelligent conversation about it (legalization)."

Similar attempts to decriminalize pot have failed in recent years.

Orr said lawmakers should consider his proposal before supporters of an effort to legalize recreational marijuana take their measure before voters in 2016.

The Marijuana Policy Project of Arizona initiative almost certainly will be modeled after the voter-approved marijuana program in Colorado.

For about a year, Colorado has allowed adults 21 and older to buy and possess up to an ounce of pot, which can be purchased at one of the many marijuana shops allowed under the law.

Colorado's 2013 measure taxed recreational marijuana at 25 percent and earmarked $40 million in tax revenue for school construction.

The state's Legislative Council recently estimated Colorado can expect to bring in about $175 million through the fiscal year that ends in 2017.

All this marijuana election-season talk is on the heels of the Marijuana Policy Project of Arizona getting permission from the state to start raising campaign funds for their citizen's initiative to legalize marijuana to go before voters in 2016.

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