Three months after the Coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, it has infected over 700,000 people and left at least 30,000 dead in its wake. The world hasn’t faced anything like this since the Second World War, and governments everywhere are struggling with containment efforts. All non-essential businesses are shut down, and people are advised to stay indoors unless it’s absolutely necessary to head out.
However, while the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdowns on the economy is catastrophic, they aren’t limited to the economy. One area that has taken a particularly hard hit is drug policy reform efforts across the country, including marijuana. In an environment where close contact with another person is likely to give you a life-threatening disease, collecting signatures doesn’t seem very smart.
Activists have asked officials to allow digital signature gathering to allow petitions to be signed online. Arizona marijuana activists, however, don’t have to worry about that after it was revealed that they have more than enough signatures to put marijuana legalization policies on the state ballot. According to The Smart and Safe Arizona, its campaign to legalize cannabis for adult use collected more than 320,000 signatures which are about 80,000 more than is required.
“We’re confident that we’re over the number that we need. We got started collecting signatures on Labor Day last year so we’re in a position where not much has changed. We were significantly ahead of where we planned to be for signatures, and we have until July 2 to continue to gather,” said Campaign Manager Stacy Pearson.
With enough signatures, the state is on track to put recreational marijuana legalization to the 2020 ballot. The initiative would permit individuals 21 and older to buy up to one ounce of cannabis from licensed retailers. They will also be allowed to plant up to six marijuana plants for personal use. Under the measure, marijuana will be taxed 16% and the revenue will be used to fund community colleges, infrastructure, justice reinvestment, and public services.
It also contains several restorative justice provisions including allowing individuals with prior marijuana convictions to petition the courts to expunge their records and establishing a social equity program. The Department of Health Services would be in charge of running the recreational marijuana program and issuing cannabis business licenses.
“We know that voters in Arizona want a taxed, tested, regulated market for legalized marijuana,” says Pearson.
This is one piece of good news that the cannabis industry, including ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX), is likely to welcome at this time when the sector is facing unprecedented difficulties triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak.
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