On November 3, Arizona voters will have a chance to bring taxed and regulated cannabis sales to the Land of Enchantment.
Last month, Smart and Safe Arizona submitted around 420,000 signatures on a petition to place a cannabis legalization measure on this year's general election ballot. This week, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announced that 255,080 of these signatures were valid – just barely exceeding the 237,645 signatures needed to qualify.
Proposition 207, as it is officially titled, would direct the state health department to issue business licenses and regulations covering legal adult-use cannabis sales. Adults would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of pot each, and would also be able to grow up to six plants for personal use only. Regulators would be given the authority to decide if home delivery or other services would be allowed.
The measure would tax legal weed sales at 16 percent, and this revenue would be used to fund the cost of implementation and regulation. Any additional revenue would be divided equally among funds for community colleges, justice programs, infrastructure, firefighters, and cops. The measure also includes provisions to create a social equity program for cannabis businesses and to allow former pot offenders to have their criminal records cleared.
Arizona actually voted on an adult-use legalization ballot measure back in 2016, but it failed by a narrow margin, with 48 percent in favor and 52 percent opposed. But this year, polls are indicating that the tide of support has grown. A poll conducted in June found that 65 percent of voters were in favor of legalization. Even more promising is the fact that the measure saw majority support in every demographic, including Republicans and adults over age 50.
Governor Doug Ducey and other Republican politicians are doing their best to discourage support for legal weed, though. The governor printed a series of arguments against legalization, which will be mailed to every voter in the state. Like most prohibitionists, Ducey is relying on myths and scare tactics to block the measure. In the mailout, Ducey argues that legalization has been linked to an increase in teen pot use – even though numerous research studies have shown that the exact opposite is true.
Arizona is joining several other states in voting on major drug reform initiatives this year. New Jersey and South Dakota will also vote to legalize adult-use pot and Mississippi will vote on legalizing medical marijuana. Campaigns to legalize adult-use in Montana and medical pot in Nebraska also look likely to succeed, as well. Washington DC will vote to decriminalize natural psychedelics this fall, and Oregon will vote on two major initiatives to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy and to decriminalize all drugs.