It’s now official that Arizona’s adult-use cannabis legalization initiative will proceed to the November ballot. This development comes after months of advocacy by the Smart and Safe Arizona campaign, which managed to successfully gather and submit the number of signatures required.
More than 255,000 valid signatures
Confirming the qualification through her Twitter handle on Tuesday, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said the Smart and Safe Arizona campaign had successfully submitted 255,080 valid signatures. Arizona’s adult-use cannabis legalization proposal will, therefore, continue to the November polls.
In 2016, the initiative failed to garner enough votes to qualify for the ballot, even as four other stated legalized cannabis. A recent survey OH Predictive Insights reveals that the chances of the proposal passing at the ballot are good. More than 60 percent of Arizona voters both in the rural and in suburban areas say they “believe that marijuana should be legalized for adult use in the State of Arizona.”
Samuel Richard is the Executive Director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association. Speaking to Cannabis Wire regarding the new development, he said:
We’re obviously ecstatic that we got through this hurdle. But our excitement is tempered by the fact that we still have hearts and minds to win over between now and November 3.
Smart and Safe’s initiative aims to legalize the purchase, possession, and use of marijuana among people aged 21 years and older. If it passes at the ballot, the proposal will also allow individuals to grow up to six plants at home. It also allows some marijuana offenders to apply for the expungement of their records.
The initiative also aims to channel money arising from the 16% excise tax on cannabis sales toward school developments, law enforcement, fire management, and a “highway revenue fund.” In its revised form, the proposal also puts aside 26 licenses for applicants from communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
Creating a lucrative market
According to the initiative, adult-use cannabis legalization in Arizona will create a productive market for the multi-state cannabis operators, who supported the campaign by their signature push. This includes three companies with medical cannabis licenses in Arizona – Curaleaf, Cresco Labs, and Harvest Enterprises, Inc.
However, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has publicly opposed the ballot initiative. Ducey expressed his “against” statement in writing saying,
In 2016, Arizona voters rejected legalizing recreational marijuana because it was a bad deal based on false promises. Today, the same is true with this new ballot measure. That’s why I’m asking you to vote ‘NO’ again.