Arizona has become the 13th state to legalize marijuana after voters passed Prop 207 on Nov 3, 2020 by 60% to 40%.
The counted ballots must be certified by the Secretary of State, which will take about a month, and then Governor Doug Ducey will issue a proclamation that officially makes the voter-approved ballot measure into a new law.
“It’s decriminalized once the initiative passes and is certified by the Secretary of State, but legal sales won’t begin until around March of 2021,” Campaign Manager for Smart and Safe Arizona Stacy Pearson told 12 News.
Marijuana possession and consumption will be legal for adults 21 and older in Arizona once the ballots are certified, which will likely be by December 3, 2020. However, dispensaries will not be able to legally sell recreational marijuana until they get licensed, which should be sometime in March 2021 (but could be early). Home cultivation will also become legal once the initiative is certified.
Key facts about the new law:
– Allows adults 21 and older to buy and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana with no more than 5 grams being concentrates (extracts).
– Limits personal home cultivation to six cannabis plants per individual’s primary residence and twelve plants at a residence where two or more persons 21 or older reside.
– Recreational marijuana dispensaries will open. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) will issue licenses following the application acceptance period from Jan 19 – Mar 9, 2021. Many medical marijuana dispensaries will get a recreational license which will allow them to sell medical and recreational marijuana from their current medical marijuana dispensary location(s).
– A 16% excise tax (similar to alcohol and cigarettes) will be imposed on recreational cannabis sold at state-licensed dispensaries. The tax revenue will fund various state agencies and community programs.
– Marijuana use is still illegal in public places but is only be a petty offence for any offenders.
– Arizona lawmakers have until April 5, 2021 to establish regulations for the state’s new, voter-approved adult-use cannabis industry.
In many states, the launch of a recreational marijuana industry has improved the states’ medical marijuana programs by reducing the annual medical marijuana card fee and by reducing the cost for medical marijuana.
The new industry should generate thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in annual revenue that will improve the state.
“This is a monumental achievement for Arizonans,” AZmarijuana.com stated. “This law will create new jobs, new revenue for state programs, and give law enforcement more time to focus on preventing and solving real crimes instead of on people who are just using or possessing small amounts of marijuana.”
Arizona was one of four states that voted on legalizing recreational marijuana this November.
View the new Arizona marijuana law, known as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act.
Photos: GarrettSSeeger/Flickr CC2.0 Modified