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MPP-backed Legalization Effort in Arizona Criticized from Both Sides   

Proponents and opponents of recreational marijuana in Arizona appear to have the same negative opinion on a Marijuana Policy Project-backed legalization plan.

Opponents, such as Yavapai County Attorney Shelia Polk and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, are against any legalization effort at all – Initiative I-08 or otherwise. Meanwhile members of Arizonans for Mindful Regulation and Safer Arizona allege that the plan is a “bait and switch” which would create a monopoly.

“I believe MPP’s initiative is worse than our current prohibition,” Dave Wisniewski of Safer Arizona said in a Phoenix New Times report. “So if you want to flip it and say prohibition is better than MPPs initiative, it’s basically saying the same thing. I call it Jail Bait.”

Wisniewski alleges the proposition, supported by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, doesn’t change the language of the current law – ARS-13-3405 — and marijuana possession would remain a crime.

The initiative text indicates that individuals would be able to possess up to one ounce of dried flower and up to five grams of “concentrated marijuana.”

Polk, Montgomery and Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety Frank Milstead, co-authored an op-ed earlier this week claiming that more drug arrests would be made if cannabis were legalized and it would force “a slew of new costs and problems” for the state.

“The proposed law was written by the medical-marijuana dispensary industry, which cynically gives itself a monopoly on retail licenses,” Polk, Montgomery, and Milstead wrote.

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