Legal Recreational Marijuana in Arizona – Marijuana Policy Project Continues
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 11/06/2014 in Medical Marijuana Legalization
A proposal that would bring separation to medical and recreational marijuana businesses in Arizona state is becoming a possibility with the continuous effort of the Marijuana Policy Project. This is the same group that brought medical marijuana to the forefront just four short years ago. The legalization proposed would legalize recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21.
In effort to make this possible, the Marijuana Policy Project has begun to form a committee, responsible for funding their 2016 campaign to legalize recreational marijuana. They have filed paperwork with the state to begin their initiative. In Arizona, Proposition 203 was barely passed, allowing medical marijuana to be used for qualifying conditions. This came in 2010, when support for medical cannabis was considerably lower than it is today.
Mason Tvert, the Communications Director for the group said it has received lots of support. Although the state has a record of conservative voting, things are beginning to change throughout the country.
“It appears most Arizona voters are ready to adopt a more sensible policy. There were a large number of supporters who got on board (in 2010) and are ready to move forward.”
Mason said previous movements, like seen in Colorado, could be used as a model to be followed for the Arizona initiative. Colorado was the first state to introduce legalized recreational marijuana and Washington State came second. With successful sales in both states, many more are beginning to see the advantages of medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana can be obtained at 18 in both Arizona and Colorado, but recreational sales would be limited to those who are 21 years and older. In Colorado, there is also a hefty general and state sales tax, followed by a 15 percent excise tax for wholesalers. Medical marijuana users are able to pay the low, 2.9 percent state sales tax. This makes medical marijuana dispensaries much lower priced than recreational stores.
Growing in Arizona is also legal for medical marijuana, with patients able to grow anywhere from 0-12 plants, while maintaining less than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana at all times. Growers utilize hydroponics and other equipment for producing their yields.
If Arizona were to introduce recreational marijuana, there would already be a policy in place to replicate. Medical marijuana and recreational marijuana stores could compete. The two sides could differentiate themselves through the strains that they have available to consumers. In Colorado, many medical dispensaries are known for their high CBD content. CBD is one of the two primary chemicals in marijuana and it’s believe to have anti-anxiety and calming effects. Medical dispensaries say they have patients that were recommended it by doctors for anxiety relief.
Not everyone in the industry sees marijuana as a harmless substance and many studies attempt to highlight the detrimental effects of marijuana. Some say it increases crime, reduces student achievement and demotivates work ethic.
The fear is that legalization will cause teens to believe there is no risk is smoking marijuana, which will lead to children abusing the substance. Many say this is evident with alcohol and tobacco and should be expected for marijuana as well.
“Why would we want to add a third legal substance that’s going to cost our nation?”
On the contrary, many disagree and say that more minors will not use the substance because of legalization. Researchers say dispensaries and recreational marijuana stores will have incentive to be cautious of who they supply to and never sell to a minor.
Restrictions put in place on dispensaries will limit who is buying the marijuana.
Colorado is an excellent place to look to see the benefits of marijuana.
Orr R-Tucson, State Rep. who plans to introduce a separate proposal had this to say: “I think once they’re stabilized, they’ll be making $100 to $150 million in tax revenue now that they’ve overcome some of the federal barriers. In addition, I think that by decriminalizing it, you’re going to save $75 to $100 million within your criminal-justice system.”
This extra money could be used to invest in today’s education and law enforcement systems or it could come as a tax cut to the public.
Orr also stated that allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to continue their business while recreational marijuana gets introduced is the right approach. There’s a medical industry to marijuana, these businesses are already established and the prices will be better for medical patients.
Tvert from the Marijuana Policy Project said that current medical marijuana dispensaries may even get first dibs on recreational stores. However, they will have to keep their two businesses entirely separate with differing locations.
“Those businesses have established themselves and demonstrated they’re willing and able to follow the law,” he said. It certainly makes sense to let those businesses be among the first to start providing marijuana to adults if the initiative passes.”
Arizona’s medical marijuana business will continue to evolve and if recreational stores become a possibility, business owners say it will create new opportunity for wealth and prosperity.
Dylan writes for Green Wellness, a Washington based medical marijuana evaluation business that schedules appointments for green cards with marijuana doctors. Dylan is passionate about lifestyle changes, politics, exercise and medical marijuana.