Arizona Voters On The Verge Of Reaching Recreational Bill
When voters go to the polls in November, they will decide whether an initiative to legalize marijuana is on the ballot in Arizona for the first time since 2016. Medical marijuana has been legal in Arizona since 2010, and more than 250,000 Arizonans now have medical marijuana cards.
If passed, adults 21 years and older could legally buy, use, and possess the product in limited quantities, but not legally possess it for personal use. Another initiative, Proposition 215, by Sen. John Kavanagh, D-Tempe, aims to decriminalize recreational use, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
A similar measure narrowly failed in 2016, but this year's bill says employers in Arizona will retain the ability to ban their employees' use. The most important example is that the 2016 initiative did not go so far as to allow employers to "prohibit the use of marijuana for personal or medical use by an employer's employees," he said. Pearson said employers who had previously tested their employees for the drug could still do so under Prop 207.
The proposal also lays the groundwork for a recreational marijuana industry in Arizona. If the initiative is approved, the Arizona Department of Health would regulate the licensing of recreational facilities. Products under $16 would be taxed, like alcohol and cigarettes, and the product would not raise taxes.
With record cannabis sales last year, Pearson said the law was an important step in regulating a product that was already available in abundance. Proceeds from these sales will bring in more money for the state, which will increase tax revenue for education, health care, and other programs, he said.
Opponents of the proposal, however, argue that the medical marijuana industry is already supplying consumers who need the product for health reasons. Opponents seem to think there is option three, where it disappears for good, and that's it. That's not the option, "said Republican John Kavanagh, D-Glendale, the sponsor of SB 1. Driving, flying, or boating under the influence of alcohol is still prohibited.
Opponents argue that these protections don't go far enough and that the current DUID law doesn't. It does nothing to combat the increased danger on the street and weakens the current D UID law, "said John D'Amato, executive director of the Arizona Marijuana Policy Project, which is leading the campaign, according to a news release.
The marijuana industry is a major supporter of the initiative, according to John Hamill, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Arizona. Medical marijuana operators will have an immediate monopoly on recreational marijuana, "Hamill said in a press release.
He also argued that the bill does not address employers' rights and advertising parameters explicitly enough and does not establish a basic policy that allows police to determine whether a driver is dangerously drunk. Currently, there are roadside devices that test THC levels on site, but not on site.
Pearson said law enforcement agencies who have spoken to his campaign are in the final stages of developing those tools. Pearson said the bill was designed to leave room for implementation and was open to suggestions from the public. Hamill argued, however, that other changes would be difficult to implement because the 1998 law is intended to prevent the Legislature and the governor from repealing or amending laws passed by voters.
If you just wanted to decriminalize recreational marijuana, you could write a one-page documentary, "Hamill said. He wrote a 17-page amendment to Arizona law that covers nearly all of them. Arizona is one of four states with recreational marijuana on the ballot this year. Washington and Colorado were the first to pass legalization laws in 2012, Oregon, and Washington State in 2013.
Nine other states are following suit, including Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada, Colorado, and Oregon.
Rick Steves, a Seattle travel writer whose long-term work has been legalized, said the last decade has given states time to overcome the kinks. When we legalized it in 2012, we had no idea what it would look like, so we assumed it would be good, "he said. The question now is whether it is good for the economy of the state, its people, and the future of its economy.
Washington leaders initially opposed the bill, Stevens said, but current Governor Jay Inslee sees it differently. He said he was glad the $1 billion markets had gotten going and turned it into a legal market that provides jobs in rural parts of the state where more jobs are needed.
In Arizona, advocates also argue against Prop 2, the state's first-ever medical marijuana law, in favor of recreational marijuana law.
Polls show it was a close vote, with a recount in Phoenix in September based on OH Predictive Insights giving a two-to-one lead to a victory for Prop 2 in favor of recreational marijuana. The bill requires that at least one-third of the state's annual revenue from the marijuana tax go to communities negatively affected by drug policies. It would also be a marijuana-related offense for an estimated 200,000 people in Arizona to contest the charges. Supporters of the law, such as the ACLU, say it would help reduce racial disparities in drug charges and combat drug trafficking.