Pro-marijuana legalization effort in AZ picks up steam - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Pro-marijuana legalization effort in AZ picks up steam

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

There's been a tidal wave of momentum this week in the effort to legalize marijuana for adults in Arizona.

"Marijuana prohibition has proven to be just as huge a failure as alcohol prohibition," said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project.

From the U.S. Department of Justice to Senator John McCain and even former Mexican president Vicente Fox all signaled, this week, support for the effort to allow adults to smoke pot.

"We're relying and trusting people, the human being, that he will act with responsibility," Fox said during a press conference in Peoria on Thursday.

At a Tucson town hall last Thursday, Sen. McCain said, "Maybe we should legalize. We're certainly moving that way as far as marijuana is concerned. I respect the will of the people."

Tuesday, the U.S. Senate judiciary committee held a rare hearing aimed at settling conflicts between federal and state marijuana laws. Following that hearing, the Marijuana Policy Project, the self described largest marijuana policy organization in the U.S. announced Arizona is one of ten states it plans to target for legalization laws similar to that of Washington and Colorado, by 2017.

"The department of justice has made it clear that states like Arizona and Colorado can adopt these laws, and they will respect them," Tvert added.

A Pew Research Center poll in April found that 52 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for adults. Then in May, a behavior research center poll found that 56 percent of Arizonans favored legalizing the possession of marijuana in small amounts.

MPP spokesman Mason Tvert of Scottsdale says those numbers don't lie.

"It would be more sensible to regulate marijuana and start treating it like alcohol," he said.

Maricopa County attorney Bill Montgomery has, in the past, said he will remain strict on medical marijuana growers, sellers and consumers. CBS 5 had hoped to get his take on these latest developments and efforts to legalize marijuana in Arizona. He declined to answer our questions Friday.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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