Following the activism and hard work of the Smart and Safe Arizona team, a new legalization measure is going to be hitting the ballot this year! The Smart and Safe Arizona initiative seeks to legalize the possession and use of marijana for adults (specifically 21 years and older)! What does that look like? How would it work? Read on, we’ll cover everything!
Arizona Proposition 207, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative
Arizona Prop 207, or the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, seeks to legalize the use, possession, and growing (in limited quantities) of marijuana. This isn’t the first time a measure like this has been proposed in Arizona, before 207 there was Prop 205 in 2016. 205 sought to legalize marijuana under state law but voters narrowly opposed it with just 51.3% of the vote!
This is all a part of growing push for legalization throughout America. In 2016, Arizona was just one of five states voting on citizen-initiated legalization. The other states, California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts all approved their version of it, it’s gaining traction throughout America.
Specifically the initiative seeks to legalize the possession and use of marijuana for adults aged 21 and older, and allowing people to grow their own plants, up to but no more than 6 plants for personal use in their residence – so long as they are in an enclosed, lockable area, and away from public view!
If the measure passes, it means the Arizona Department of health Services would have until April 5th, 2021 to establish regulations for recreational marijuana. These include: licensing of marijuana retail stores as well as cultivation and production facilities. Some facilities will be able to ‘early qualify’ for a recreational dispensary license with the ADHS, and others will be given out by a random selection. At the moment there looks to be about 145 licenses available. While the licensing gets sorted out, medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell recreationally. Medical dispensaries who obtain a recreational license will be able to operate as both entities from the single location.
No initiative of the sort would be complete without some form of initial guidance on taxing and revenue from the legalization of marijuana, especially not with how successful such measures have been in other states. The measure places a 16% tax (the same as tobacco and alcohol) on all mairjuana sales with guidance on how the revenue from the tax would be utilized, with a portion enforcing regulations and the rest being broken down as such:
- 33.0% for community college districts
- 31.4% for municipal police and fire departments and fire districts
- 25.4% for the state’s highway user revenue fund
- 10.0% for the justice reinvestment fund
- 0.2% for the Arizona Attorney General to enforce
The initiative allows for local governments to ban marijuana facilities, testing centers, as well as giving them more local control over licensing, regulation etc.
Here are a few facts about what the bill would do:
- Marijuana use would remain illegal in public places (restaurants, parks, sidewalks, etc). Offenders will be guilty of a petty offence.
- No marijuana products can be sold that imitate brands marketed to children. Similarly nothing that looks like humans, animals, insects, fruits, toys or cartoons will be permitted.
- Edibles will be limited in potency to a maximum of 10mg of THC per edible. A package would be limited to a maximum of 100mg of THC.
- Employers will have the right to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.
- There will be a zero tolerance rule in place for operating any vehicle. Driving, flying or boating impaired to even the slightest degree by marijuana would remain illegal.
- Create marijuana testing facilities for contaminants such as pesticides, mold, etc.
- Possession of more than one ounce but less than 2.5 ounces would be a petty offense.
- Minors caught with less than one ounce would receive up to a $100 fine and four hours of drug counseling for a first offense. A second offense would be up to a $100 fine and eight hours of drug counseling. A third offense would be a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- On or after Jan 1, 2023, the ADHS can adopt rules to permit recreational marijuana deliveries.
- Beginning on July 12, 2021, people previously convicted of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana or six or fewer plants or paraphernalia will be able to petition to have the record expunged.
Should the measure pass, all of these things, and more could come to pass. It would be the first step in a wider change in the way Arizona handles marijuana amongst other things, and the potential boon the taxes could bring are immeasurable (as seen in other states). One thing is for sure, the demand and business for marijuana, vape pens and otherwise, will surge. Keep an eye on the ballot this November and be ready to ramp up production, order as many CCell cartridges as you’re going to need!