Legalized marijuana: Could Arizona be next?

Legalized marijuana: Could Arizona be next?

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

Some believe if it can work in Colorado, then it can work here too. And one Democratic Arizona lawmaker is in the middle of drafting legislation that would allow people in Arizona to go to a store and legally purchase pot.

That's right -- you could one day buy marijuana legally here in Arizona.

State Representative Ruben Gallego is writing up a new law that would make it happen and he's planning on introducing that bill in the state legislature next week.

Sales are swift at marijuana shops in Colorado.  It's a reality that could play out here in Arizona in the near future.

"So this bill on my desk right now.. I'm reading the final draft," said Gallego.  "The whole goal of this bill is to regulate and tax this to the point where we no longer have these powerful cartels as powerful as they are now."

He says the rules on possessing marijuana would be similar to Colorado's -- where people are only allowed to have one ounce on them and can also grow a handful of plants in their own home.

"You have to be 21 plus.. it could only be sold in certain stores and those stores would have to be approved operations closely monitored by the state government," he said.

Gallego says so far, he's seeing support for his bill from both Republicans and Democrats.

According to a poll conducted by the Behavior Research Center, a majority of Arizonans said they support the legalization of marijuana. 56 percent were for it, while 37 percent were against it.

Gallego is keeping a close eye on what's going to Colorado and says he'll tailor his bill after seeing what works and doesn't work there.

"One of the things I saw in Colorado is long lines and that's a good thing because what that shows you every time you see one person buying marijuana from a legal site, that's one person not buying marijuana from the cartels or from the black market."

Again he's introducing that bill next week, so we'll see if state lawmakers can agree on it and if it can make it to the governor's desk or if it will end up going to the voters.

Of course the marijuana would be taxed with money going into the general fund and other programs.

If all 50 states legalized marijuana and taxed it, it could generate as much as $9 billion dollars a year in tax revenue.

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