/ Modified jul 8, 2016 4:43 p.m.

Debate Over Recreational Marijuana Comes to the Fore

Initiative aimed at legalization in Arizona proposed for November election ballot.

Proponents of legalizing marijuana for recreational use by adults 21 and older in Arizona have filed their nominating petitions, and the debate over it is charged.

Arizona Week explores the pros and cons of the issue on Friday's program.

Petitions were filed before Thursday’s deadline for the proposal, called the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.

A group called the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol filed the initiative. Chairman, J.P. Holyoak said legalization makes sense.

“We know when it comes to cannabis that it’s relatively benign," Holyoak said. "That doesn’t mean that it’s absolutely benign, but it is objectively safer than alcohol.”

That doesn’t fly with Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, whose vice chair, Sheila Polk, is Yavapai County attorney.

“Marijuana in general is a harmful, addictive substance," Polk said.

State and county officials have until the end of August to verify the more than a quarter-million signatures that have been turned in before the proposal is certified for the November ballot.

On the program:

  • J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.
  • Sheila Polk, Yavapai County attorney and vice chair of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.
  • Kyle Hardy, wholesale dispensary manager at Halo Infusions & Extractions, a Tucson company that makes edible and topical products including marijuana as an ingredient.

Arizona Week also shares the story of 4-year-old Gianna Hurtado, who has a rare brain tumor and is under radiation treatment. "The prognosis is not good," said her mother, Lizette Hurtado. "As far as the doctors are concerned, there's no cure."

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