2016 Arizona ballot initiative
Last update: January 20, 2016
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona, sponsored by Marijuana Policy Project, has filed a ballot initiative with the Arizona Secretary of State. In order to place the initiative on the 2016 ballot, the campaign needs more than 230,000 signatures from Arizona voters; the campaign has collected over 125,000 signatures already. The initiative would establish a sensible tax-and-regulate system for retail sales of marijuana to adults in Arizona. Visit the campaign website to read a summary of the initiative. You can find the full version here.
This is especially important in Arizona, because it has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country. Unlike most states, the criminal penalty for possession of just one ounce of marijuana can be a felony that carries a potential penalty of 18 months in jail and a $150,000 fine. And this in a state where, in 2012, 92% of all reported burglaries, 74% of all reported rapes, and over 90% of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved.
Arizona Legislature continues to try to interfere with the will of the voters
In 2010, Arizona voters approved Prop. 203, an MPP-drafted and funded initiative to allow the medical use of marijuana. More than 75,000 patients are currently registered and are able to obtain their medicine from more than 90 dispensaries. (Click here to learn more.)
Unfortunately, some members of the Arizona Legislature oppose this progress and are trying to attack Prop. 203. For example, in 2016, bills were introduced that: would limit access to medical marijuana by restricting the types of medical professionals who can recommend it (HB 2019), ban the use of medical marijuana by pregnant women (HB 206), and add other unnecessary restrictions (HB 2404 and HB 2405).
This pattern extends back further and includes the 2012 passage of a law that forbids the possession of medical marijuana on university campuses. This law is currently being challenged in the Arizona Supreme Court by a patient and ASU student who was charged with a felony for possessing his medical marijuana on campus.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Arizona, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service, if you haven’t done so already.