Since Proposition 203 passed in 2010, medical marijuana use has been legal in Arizona – but now, renewed efforts are being focused on extending legalization to recreational cannabis as well. Although recreational marijuana suffered a disappointing defeat in 2016, when Proposition 205 failed with 48.7 percent of votes, there are many in the Arizona cannabis community that is optimistic for the future.
Now, the cause has been taken up with renewed vigor, as pro-cannabis organizations and businesses determined to do everything they can to get legalized recreational marijuana a spot on Arizona’s 2020 ballot.
Cannabis Advocacy Groups Leading the Way
This time around, a group named Smart & Safe Arizona is heading up the efforts to legalize recreational cannabis, partnering with the same PR consultants that helped advocates win a big victory in Alaska’s 2014 initiative.
According to Smart & Safe Arizona, the state is moving forward and must collect 237,645 valid signatures from voters by July 2nd, 2020 in order to put the measure on the November 2020 ballot.
The central focus is to enable a form of legalization that can positively impact the greatest number of people, specifically those who’ve experienced negative consequences as a result of the state’s extremely strict laws. In addition to making improvements for the general cannabis public, the new law would allow canna-businesses to grow and expand considerably.
Opponents to Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in Arizona
Despite the best efforts of cannabis advocacy organizations across the state, marijuana – both recreational and medical alike – still faces considerable opposition in the Grand Canyon State. Currently, Arizona is home to some of the toughest anti-cannabis laws in the U.S., allowing any person in possession of a testable amount of cannabis to be charged with a felony.
Even though nearly 200,000 Arizona citizens possess a medical marijuana card, there are certain state leaders that have vocalized their belief that even medicinal cannabis should be illegal. Both Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery are staunchly against cannabis of any kind and haven’t been shy about sharing their opinions that marijuana should be outlawed altogether.
When early efforts to legalize recreational use failed, there were a handful of groups leading the charge to strike down Prop 205. Arizonians for Responsible Drug Policy was one of the major organizations against the proposed legalization, as was the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Among the concerns expressed by those against the idea was the necessity of establishing an effective method for regulating possible impaired driving, one of the numerous issues the new proposed legislation is taking great care to address.
There’s still some time before any big decisions can be made when it comes to legalizing recreational cannabis in Arizona, and there’s plenty that remains to be seen. However, with so many advocates working tirelessly to get the bill on the ballot, pro-cannabis Arizonians certainly have something to be hopeful about.
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