A vote to legalize marijuana in Arizona could be a way to increase the state's youth turnout, KTAR News reported. Secretary of State Michele Reagan notified Republican Governor Doug Ducey that the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act met the signature requirements to be placed on the ballot on Thursday as Proposition 205.
Valley political strategist Chris Herstam believes the vote "will draw heavy support from younger voters," and that the 18- to 29-year-old demographic could see an uptick in voter turnout this year. He said, regardless of party affiliation, "it's one of those issues that transcends the normal political world."
Proposition 205 was put forth by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. If it passes, marijuana will be legalized for those over 21 years old, and Arizonans will be allowed to have six marijuana plants per house. Sales would be subject to a 15 percent tax.
Like other elections and referendums, the proposition's fate could be affected by low youth voter turnout, especially since older voters who are not in favor have a higher turnout. Marijuana legalization has support from 39 percent of Arizonans and 52.5 percent are against it, according to a July poll. The opposition comes mostly from rural Arizona and older voters, according to Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster of O.H. Predictive Insights.
Noble pointed out that the pro-legalization campaign has "significant resources" and suggested the vote could turn around.
Regardless of whether marijuana legalization passes in Arizona or in other states, researchers have found young people overall have a more liberal view on it.