Apr 17, 10:42 PM EDT

Voter initiative to legalize marijuana in Arizona filed


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PHOENIX (AP) -- A group that hopes to get voters to legalize recreational use of marijuana filed an initiative with Friday with the Arizona Secretary of State's office and will start a signature-gathering campaign to get it on the ballot.

The Marijuana Policy Project and several other activist groups that filed the initiative need to gather more than 150,000 valid signatures by July 7, 2016 to get the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

The initiative would allow people age 21 years and older to grow and consume small amounts of marijuana. It also would set up a regulatory system allowing licensed businesses to grow and sell marijuana and let local governments oversee or prohibit pot businesses.

Marijuana sales would be subject to Arizona sales tax plus a 15 percent tax to fund education.

Carlos Alfaro, Arizona political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said there were hurdles to overcome to get the initiative ready for filing but groups worked together to come up with solutions.

"We are united in this effort to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol," Alfaro said.

Arizona voters approved sales of medical marijuana in 2010 by a narrow margin of about 4,300 votes.

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