It has been a good couple of weeks for supporters of recreational marijuana use. On Monday, August 11, 2020, the Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, declared that a review of petition signatures submitted by the Smart and Safe Arizona campaign in July, had garnered 255,080 valid signatures and that puts the proposal on the November ballot. Four years ago, a proposal to legalize marijuana in Arizona failed at the ballot box.
On Thursday, August 20, the Arizona Supreme Court also ruled in favor of the voter initiative appearing on the November ballot. The Supreme Court upheld the ruling of August 7, 2020 by Superior Court Judge James D. Smith who wrote that the principal provisions of the Smart and Safe Arizona Act were properly included in the summary. Opponents said the summary failed to present a proper outline of the impacts of the initiative. In his ruling, Smith also noted that lawyers for legalization foes took 25 pages to describe provisions that they said should have been included. The high court unanimously rejected the legal challenge and upheld the August 7, 2020 ruling.
The Smart and Safe Arizona Act would allow people 21 and older to posses up to an ounce of marijuana — currently a felony — and set up a system of licensing retailers to sell the drug, along with other provisions. It will now be listed on the General Election ballot in November 2020. It will be listed on the ballot as Proposition 207.
Prop 207 Fast Facts
–Adults 21 and older would be able to possess 1 ounce of marijuana with no more than 5 grams of it being marijuana concentrates (extracts).
–Limits home cultivation to 6 plants at an individual’s primary residence and 12 plants at a residence where two or more individuals who are at least 21 years old reside at one time.
–A 16% excise tax (the same as cigarettes and alcohol) would be placed on recreational marijuana products. Money from the excise tax would fund various state agencies and be dispersed between community college districts, police and fire departments, and the Highway User fund.
–Marijuana use would remain illegal in public places (restaurants, parks, sidewalks, etc).
–No marijuana products could be sold that imitate brands marketed to children or look like humans, animals, insects, fruits, toys or cartoons.
–Employers have the right to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.
–Driving, flying or boating impaired to even the slightest degree by marijuana would remain illegal (i.e., zero tolerance rule).
–Marijuana testing facilities will test marijuana for harmful contaminants (i.e., pesticides, molds, etc).
–The ADHS may issue a marijuana establishment license (recreational marijuana dispensary license) to no more than two recreational dispensaries per county that contains no medical marijuana dispensaries, or one recreational dispensary license per county that contains one medical marijuana dispensary (the ADHS will accept applications from Jan 19, 2021 – Mar 9, 2021).
–On or before April 5, 2021, medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell recreational marijuana to adults until the ADHS issues licenses for recreational dispensaries.
–Possessing 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.
— Smoking in a public place would be a petty offense.
–Beginning on July 12, 2021, people convicted previously of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana or six or fewer plants or paraphernalia can petition to have the record expunged.
The full text of the ballot initiative can be found here: https://ballotpedia.org/Arizona_Proposition_207,_Marijuana_Legalization_Initiative_(2020)