Advocates in Arizona have successfully turned in more than enough signatures to get cannabis legalization on November’s ballot. Originally, the state required 237,645 signatures to qualify. Smart and Safe Arizona announced a day before the deadline for the submission of 420,000 raw signatures.
Details of Legalization
Arizona is following the footsteps of many other states who are trying to legalize cannabis. Like many other states, Arizona was faced with complications in achieving this goal due to the Coronavirus. Thankfully, this state was able to succeed in making it happen.
“Arizonans are ready to legalize cannabis and this is the right policy for our state,” said Steve White, Arizona Dispensary Association President. “New jobs and revenue are even more critical, today, than when we embarked on this campaign last year.”
This ballot would enact several different policies that surround cannabis. First, it would allow anyone 21 and older to purchase and possess cannabis from a licensed dispensary. Adults could possess a maximum of one ounce of cannabis if legalized, as well as grow up to six cannabis plants for cultivation. Public consumption of cannabis could still result in penalties.
Additionally, cannabis legalization would create an expungement program where individuals could petition to have prior cannabis-related convictions erased. This is yet another policy change that has become popular in many other states.
Regulation and license issuing will be handled by the Department of Health Servies. They will also be responsible for deciding on expansions of the program, such as including delivery services.
Finally, all cannabis sales will include a 16 percent tax that will enhance local communities. After implication costs, these taxes will fund community colleges, public services, a justice reinvestment program, and infrastructures.
The Likelihood of Legalization
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time cannabis legalization was left in the hands of local residents. In 2016, Arizona voters rejected the proposal to legalize cannabis. Today, advocates believe they have more than enough supporters to legalize the drug.
“As long as Smart and Safe Arizona can qualify for the ballot, all signs point to 2020 being the year that recreational marijuana finally becomes legal in Arizona,” said Paul Bentz, senior vice president of research and strategy at HighGround, a public affairs consultant. “Of course, there is still strong opposition among some of those who represent the most conservative segments of the electorate. We should expect a legal challenge coming from that audience because, at this point, that’s likely the only way they can defeat this issue.”
According to a study done by Highground, 65 percent of Arizona voters plan to vote yes on cannabis legalization. Last year, the same poll showed only 54 percent in favor. Now, over two-thirds of the state supports legalization. This might be due to the increase in popularity amongst other states.
There is only one last thing Arizona residents must do to legalize cannabis in November: vote. If you find this particular subject important and feel like it would benefit you or your community, go out and vote for it. Even if surveys show the majority in favor of legalization, it wouldn’t matter unless the residents of Arizona actually go out and vote for it. Reach out to friends and family who live in Arizona and explain the many benefits it could have on both individuals and communities.