Rec. Marijuana Initiative Files 420,000 Signatures to be Included on Nov. 3 Ballot

click to enlarge Volunteers for the citizens initiative Smart and Safe Arizona drop of a symbolic 420,000 signatures - ERIC CHALMERS
Eric Chalmers
Volunteers for the citizens initiative Smart and Safe Arizona drop of a symbolic 420,000 signatures
Smart and Safe Arizona, the citizens' initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, filed 420,000 signatures with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office on July 1 in an effort to secure its place on the upcoming Nov. 3 ballot.

However, Smart and Safe Arizona could still be challenged before making the November ballot.

"It's great to be done," said Senior Vice President of Strategies 360 Arizona Stacey Pearson, the PR firm handling the initiative. "I anticipate someone to challenge but given the size of our margin, they would not be successful."

The initiative collected 180,000 signatures more than the 237,467 signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot and filed them a day before the state's July 2 deadline.
Pearson said they wanted to collect and file the symbolic number of signatures because it was appropriate to the cause and to illustrate Arizona's desire to legalize recreational marijuana. 

"It seemed fitting," Pearson said. " We knew we were going to have over 420,000 signatures and the number seemed appropriate to file."

Pearson said signature collection efforts were going "exceedingly well" before the pandemic—they had already collected 300,000 by the time COVID-19 hit the states—but to reach their symbolic goal of 420,000 signatures, Pearson said they had to get creative to continue collecting.

"It was going exceedingly well and then the world changed in March and we so we had to figure out a way to close the gap between 300,000 and 420,000 signatures," Pearson said. "So we set up drive-thru democracy events where folks didn't even have to get out of their cars. We also delivered door to door. When we realized you could order french fries to your door, certainly a petition could be delivered to you."

Pearson also said she is confident Smart and Safe Arizona will pass due to the public support they've seen—even during a pandemic—and the number of signatures they were able to collect is the proof.

"The prospect of it passing is inevitable. (Smart and Safe) will qualify for the ballot and it will win, Pearson said. "Arizona has turned the corner on this issue and our polling shows it. We can feel it in our guts. the signatures prove it and we're going to get there."