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The Legal Status of Cannabis in Arizona

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Cannabis in Arizona is legal for both medical and recreational use. Medical cannabis got legalized in this state via Proposition 203 in 2010 which was approved by a very close vote of 50.1%.  This proposition gained approval despite opposition from the then Governor, Jan Brewer as well as Terry Goddard, the Attorney General. The number of dispensaries however was limited to 124 and cultivation s specified for patients who live more than 25 miles (40 km) away from a dispensary. However, with the legalization of recreational cannabis, planting is allowed for up to 12 plants in a household that has two or more adults above 21 years and unlimited with a legal license.

Earlier, 65% of Arizona voters in 1996 passed Proposition 200 (the “Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act”), which was an initiative for drug policy reform that contained the provision to allow physicians the leeway to prescribe cannabis. This provision was essentially repealed by state legislators a few months later but rejected by voters in a veto referendum in 1998 rendering it ineffective due to the use of the term “prescribe” instead of “recommend”.

The prequalifying conditions in the state of Arizona are:

  • Alzheimer’s disease agitation
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Seizures, linked to epilepsy and such other conditions
  • Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms, such as those experienced in multiple sclerosis
  • Severe nausea

In Arizona, Cannabis for recreational use is also. The initiative to legalize recreational use under Proposition 207 (the Smart and Safe Act) was voted in by a 60% vote in 2020. On November 30, 2021, the cultivation and possession of recreational cannabis became legal.

Before then, the below propositions had been tabled and failed:

Proposition 205 (2016):  An initiative for the legalization of cannabis was passed in 2016 under Proposition 205 but it failed with a 48.7% vote. This initiative was to allow an adult to grow and possession of cannabis at a maximum cap of 1 oz. (28g) and six plants per household. It also proposed establishing a system that would regulate commercial distribution as well as taxation of cannabis channeling any excess taxes to the funding of public schools as well as substance abuse programs.

Proposition 207 (2020): In August of 2019, an initiative by the Arizona Dispensaries Association together with the Arizona Cannabis Chamber of Commerce began which they named Proposition 207. This was the “Smart and Safe Act”, which sought to obtain signatures from Arizona voters who were registered with a deadline of July 2, 2020. This campaign ultimately yielded 420,000 signatures and thus qualified Proposition 207 for the November ballot.

Under the Smart and Safe Act adult recreational cannabis was legalized to:

  • Specifically allow adults in Arizona the possession of up to 1 oz. of marijuana
  • It also allowed each adult up to six marijuana plants with a maximum of twelve trees for a household with two or more adults.
  • It also outlined other factors like the commercial infrastructure, tax (which was set at an additional 16% excise tax), and the allocation of revenue.
  • The initiative states that employers should adopt “drug-free workplace” policies restricting applicants and employees' use of marijuana also barring public use.
  • Established the possessing of above 1 Oz but below 2.5 Oz’s of marijuana to be a petty offense.
  • Prohibits the selling marijuana in products resembling “human, animal, insect, fruit, toy or cartoon”.
  • Sets the penalties for possession by minors, drug counseling, and a $100 fine for a first offense.

This proposition was hotly contested by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry claiming that causes “an uptick in workplace accidents and lower overall workplace productivity”. This claim was however rejected by the Arizona Supreme court and the Smart and Safe Act was passed with a 60% vote on November 3, 2020.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.