Cannabis Legalization Officially Added To Arizona Ballot

Registered voters in Arizona will determine the fate of cannabis legalization in their state.
Cannabis Legalization Officially Added To Arizona Ballot

Arizona voters will have a chance this year to make their state the latest to end pot prohibition.

A petition spearheaded by a pro-legalization group had its signatures officially certified by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on Monday, clearing the way for the proposal to qualify for the state’s ballot this November.

Hobbs, a Democrat, said on Twitter that the “the petition exceeded the minimum requirement with approximately 255,080 valid signatures,” and that the measure will appear on the ballot as Prop. 207.

The petition was circulated by Smart and Safe Arizona, a group that has centered its pitch for legalization around economic opportunity for the state, saying that a marijuana industry would create jobs and opportunities, with revenue providing “additional resources for police training, enforcement and task forces,” as well as more funding for the state’s community colleges. The group said it had submitted more than 420,000 signatures. Smart and Safe Arizona asserts that the new law would generate $3 billion in new revenue in the first decade alone. 

If passed, Prop. 207 would legalize “the sale, possession and consumption of one ounce of marijuana” for adults aged 21 and older. The measure would also include certain safeguards, such as the banning of “smoking marijuana in public places like restaurants and open spaces like sidewalks and parks,” as well as heightened penalties for “for driving under the influence of marijuana and gives police departments funding for enforcement, training, equipment and task forces.” It would also ban “the sale of gummy bears, gummy worms and other products that resemble kids’ candy,” and would limit “the amount of THC (the chemical responsible for the “high” in marijuana) to 10 milligrams per serving of edible product.”

Under the law, the Arizona Department of Health Services would be given “the authority to oversee the safe sale of marijuana, including testing and inspecting products sold.”

Other States, Other Ballot Measures

Arizona won’t be the only state with such a ballot measure this November. Voters in South Dakota and New Jersey will also have the opportunity to pass proposals that would legalize recreational marijuana use for adults (South Dakota will also have a measure to legalize medical marijuana). Recent polling suggests that both Arizona and New Jersey could be ready to take that leap. A survey from Monmouth University in April found that more than 60 percent of New Jersey voters are in favor of their ballot measure, which would likewise legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older.

Additionally, a poll released last month from OH Predictive Insights showed that 62 percent of Arizona voters also backed their marijuana proposal — rising from 51 percent support in December. 

The Arizona ballot measure could also be a boon for Democrats, who are eyeing the state as a potential pickup opportunity in both the U.S. Senate and presidential elections. Polls show that Mark Kelly, the Democratic challenger to Republican Sen. Martha McSally, is in a strong position to win the seat, while Joe Biden is currently running neck-and-neck with Donald Trump in Arizona, which hasn’t gone blue since Bill Clinton won the state in 1996. 

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