With less than a month to go before Arizona voters hit the polls to decide whether or not the state should legalize marijuana for recreational use, campaign finance records show that opposing forces are spending millions of dollars in hopes of stopping the initiative dead in its tracks.
The most recent contribution intended to keep voters from siding with the concept of a fully legal cannabis trade was made by Scottsdale-based Discount Tire Co., which recently gave a whopping $1 million to the pot-hating Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.
According to a report from the Phoenix Business Journal, Discount Tire operates over 900 stores all over the United States, and it is the largest privately held company in the state of Arizona. The company is a leading sponsor in the motor sports community, recently signing on for its 7th season as the primary backer of NASCAR’s Team Penske.
While it is not certain exactly what Discount Tire hopes to gain by helping to foil Proposition 205 -- a ballot measure seeking to establish a taxed and regulated cannabis industry similar to what is currently underway in Colorado – the company’s donation is undoubtedly one of the largest to find its way into the coffers of the No on 205 campaign.
Interestingly, Discount Tire founder Bruce Halle is the richest man in Arizona, according to the Phoenix New Times, and Forbes Magazine has him ranked the 76th richest person in the United States. Earlier this year, Halle was criticized after a Discount Tire location posted signs showing support for the re-election of Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- “America’s Toughest Sheriff” -- who is known for racial profiling and for operating jails that have been deemed unconstitutional.
Last year, Sheriff Arpaio announced that his department was getting tough on Maricopa County’s drug problem through the launch of “Operation No Drug Bust Too Small.” The goal of this mission, according to Arpaio, was to rid the streets of all illegal drugs from “marijuana to heroin.”
Although Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy believes Proposition 205 would cause major public safety risks and endanger kids, a recent analysis from the Drug Policy Alliance shows those fears are most likely rooted in "reefer madness" mentality. The report, which was published last week, suggests that while it is “too early to draw any line-in-the-sand conclusion about the effects of marijuana legalization,” all of the evidence, at this point, shows that legal weed is working.