Arizona: Marijuana Initiative Backers Issue Alcohol Awareness Month Challenge


Alcohol Awareness Month Challenge to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery: Prove Marijuana Is More Harmful Than Alcohol or Return the Campaign Contributions He Received From the Alcohol Industry Last Year

Backers of a proposed ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona on Wednesday issued a challenge to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is calling on Montgomery — who says marijuana is too dangerous to regulate for adult use — to either prove marijuana is more harmful than alcohol or return campaign contributions he received from members of the alcohol industry last year.

The CRMLA held a Wednesday news conference in front of the Maricopa County Administration Building, where the county attorney’s office is located. They provided Montgomery with a jumbo-sized refund check for $8,050 from his campaign committee, Montgomery 2016, to his “alcohol industry contributors.” Montgomery 2016 received at least $8,050 in contributions from members of the alcohol industry in 2015, according to campaign finance reports.

“Mr. Montgomery’s public statements about our initiative indicate that he feels like marijuana should remain illegal because of its potential harms,” said CRMLA chairman J.P. Holyoak. “Yet marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol by every objective measure, and he accepts campaign contributions from people who distribute alcohol.”

Specifically, the CRMLA is challenging Montgomery to disprove the following three statements by the end of April, which is nationally recognized as Alcohol Awareness Month:

1. Alcohol is significantly more toxic than marijuana, making death by overdose far more likely with alcohol.

2. The health effects from alcohol consumption cause tens of thousands of more deaths in the U.S. annually than the health effects from the consumption of marijuana.

3. The use of alcohol is more likely to be a contributing factor in acts of violence than the use of marijuana.

More information regarding the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol is available at

“We are tired of seeing Mr. Montgomery demonize marijuana, so we are simply challenging him to prove that it is more harmful than alcohol,” Holyoak said. “If he is unable to do so, we are calling on him to return the campaign contributions he has received from members of the alcohol industry.

“We are not attacking alcohol, alcohol consumers, or even alcohol distributors,” Holyoak said. “We are attacking Mr. Montgomery’s hypocrisy for accepting alcohol-related campaign contributions while advocating for the continued punishment of adults who prefer to use a less harmful substance.”

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is supporting a 2016 statewide ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. For more information, visit