PHOENIX (Reuters) - Advocates for legalizing marijuana launched a petition campaign in Phoenix on Friday seeking a ballot measure that could make Arizona the fifth U.S. state to allow possession, cultivation and consumption of small amounts of pot for recreational use.
Supporters have until July of next year to obtain the signatures of 150,642 registered voters in the politically conservative state in order to get their initiative placed on the November 2016 ballot, election officials said.
Formal paperwork to kick off the drive was filed with the state on Friday.
Following the leads of five other western states and the District of Columbia, the Arizona measure would legalize possession, cultivation and private personal consumption of marijuana by adults for the sake of just getting high.
Arizona is already one of 23 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law, although the Obama administration has taken the position of giving individual states leeway to carry out their own recreational use statutes.
Under the Arizona proposal, adults 21 and older could ultimately purchase up to an ounce of marijuana through state-licensed retail outlets. They would also be permitted to grow up to six plants at home without a license.