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Enough Signatures Gathered To Put Legalizing Pot On Arizona Ballot

Supporters the 'Yes on 205' campaign
(Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ)
Supporters of recreational marijuana kicked off their "Yes on 205" campaign Thursday, after collecting enough signaures to get the measure on the ballot. Speaking is former DEA agent Mike Capasso.

Supporters of legalizing recreational marijuana in Arizona kicked off their “Yes on Prop 205” campaign Thursday — the same day the Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan affirmed they had officially gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.

The campaign collected an estimated 177,258 signatures, Reagan said, more than the needed 150,642.

Advocates of the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Campaign came together Thursday to talk about why they support the measure. They included a local doctor, a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent, and Lisa Olson, a mother of five with multiple sclerosis (MS). She said marijuana has helped her shed all her MS drugs.

While Olson uses pot medicinally, she thinks it should be available to all adults.

“It’s a gentle, loving plant, that has healing properties. And I never would have believed it had I not walked through my own life experience that brought me to this place,” she said. “I probably would have been on the side of Bill Montgomery.”

Olson was taking about the Maricopa County Attorney, who is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit trying to block recreational pot from the November ballot. The case is set to go before a Maricopa County Superior Court judge Friday.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.