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However, we will also have posts that relate to national and global marijuana subjects, including but not limited to legalization, drug testing, new strains, and new dispensary openings. If you want detailed info on Arizona’s Marijuana laws, you can click here.
Arizona Marijuana Law
Residents of the state of Arizona recently voted no to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Proposition 205, which aimed to legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana by adults 21 and older in Arizona appeared on the November 2016 presidential election ballot. Prop 205, also known as The Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative, would have not only created a department of marijuana licenses and control, but also would imposed a 15% tax on any the sale of it, with revenue going toward the state’s marijuana infrastructure, substance abuse programs, and public schools.
To the surprise of many, the proposition was rejected by a margin of 48–52. On the same day, in eight other states, residents voted yes to further legalizing marijuana use.
Arizona had already legalized the use of medical marijuana when voters passed Proposition 203 with 50.13% of the vote in November 2010. That vote ratified even earlier successful attempts. The voters of Arizona passed medical marijuana initiatives two times, in 1996 and 1998, but the wording of these laws had failed to fully protect medical marijuana users from arrest.
Why Did Prop 205 Fail?
The victory of President-Elect Trump and a swing to more conservative values generally is likely partly to blame (Trump Republicans resoundingly won the state in 2016). But there are a number of other reasons why Prop 205 was unsuccessful in Arizona, even after cannabis use has become legal in California, Colorado, Nevada and several other states. Here are some theories:
- Well-funded opposition lobby groups. A strong campaign by the opposition group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP) used media and advertising to warn voters about the dangers and costs of marijuana legalization. The pro-marijuana organization that spearheaded the Prop 205 effort, Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona, was also well-funded but ultimately less effective in convincing voters.
- Public opposition from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and many other mayors, councillors,politicians and business leaders in the State sent a powerful signal to voters concerned about drugs and minors. Even prominent marijuana activists Jason Medar and Dave Wisniewski, publicly claimed the proposition would be worse for Arizonans than the current law, where possession of any quantity of marijuana is a felony offense.
- A proposition that appeared to be anti-business. A provision in Prop 205 gave preference for marijuana retail licenses to existing, not-for-profit medical marijuana dispensaries. Only 20 licenses would be available for new entrepreneurs, at least initially.
The Current Situation
Only marijuana prescribed for medical use is currently legal in the state of Arizona. Penalties for possession carry a maximum sentence of 3.75 years.
Did you know that Arizona is the only U.S. state where medical marijuana is legal, but at the same time still illegal on college campuses. This is because of a 2012 change to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act known as the “campus-ban statute.”
Cardholders also can’t carry it on a school bus, on any preschool, middle school or high school grounds. Nor can it be carried in a correctional facility, and lastly, it can’t be smoked on any public transportation system or in a public place.
Arizona is surrounded by states where recreational pot use is legal so the issue will certainly be re-visited in the years to come, especially if federal laws governing the possession and use of marijuana soften. There is also the issue of Drug Testing In Arizona which is another subject we will discuss at a later time.
However, with the election of Trump, whose views on recreational marijuana use are not yet clear, there may be new challenges to be faced by the recreational marijuana industry at both the state and the federal level.