The High Life Debuts in Arizona
Whip out the bongs, pipes, rolling papers, and start packing, because the State of Arizona has recently followed the footsteps of its neighbors, California and Colorado. Recreational pot will become legal mid-2021 thanks to the passing of Proposition 207, also called the Smart and Safe Act. But before we sing the Rocky Mountain High or Willie Nelson lyrics, the ballots must first be concluded, and the initiative certified. However, it’s important to know that several municipalities, such as Gilbert, have local laws that will still prohibit using, possessing, and growing marijuana.
While the local sales of recreational marijuana won’t formally begin until at least mid-2021, this initiative and its provisions impact libertarians, business owners, health services, and those seeking the higher lifestyle in AZ. Keep in mind that this initiative failed in the 2016 election, proving that in the past four years, or perhaps this year alone, the necessity to get baked and forget about life for a few hours has peaked at an all-time high, pun intended.
Key Highlights of Proposition 207 in AZ
To clarify the provisions of the Smart and Safe Act for the people of Arizona, Prop. 207 allows the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older. The following provisions also apply:
- Possession of 1 ounce (28 grams) is permitted
- Possessing any more than five (5) grams of concentrate is prohibited
- Six (6) plants per person are permitted in a household
- Households are prohibited from containing more than twelve (12) plants under certain circumstances
The Department of Health Services is expected to set bylaws on retail marijuana sales concerning state and local taxes by June 1, 2021. With that in mind, let’s discuss what that means for the tax allocation of marijuana sales. The tax revenue and 16% excise tax of cannabis products will be allocated entirely towards state government activities such as:
- Highway infrastructure
- Community college districts
- Police departments
- Fire departments
Impacts on Communities
The State of Arizona will initiate a plan to prepare two dozen licenses to help minority community members start owning businesses in the marijuana industry. If you look at the election numbers, 60.03% voted YES on Prop. 207, and in Coconino county, the vote was YES by 70% popularity (AP News, 2020).
There were only two counties in the state where a majority voted against the proposition. Fox News reports that the ganja market may take two years to adjust to its own demand, meaning arrests for drug sales in communities can’t be dismissed in the near future. However, economic results will be noticeable as early as the third quarter of 2021. Keep in mind that this initiative failed in the 2016 election, proving that in the past four years, or perhaps this year alone, the necessity to get baked and forget about life for a few hours has peaked at an all-time high, pun intended.
Benefits of Prop. 207
Arizonians should expect the increased growth of revenue streams to be similar to Colorado’s economic success as its “businesses in the recreational cannabis industry have made more than $6.5 billion in sales in the past five years,” according to a 2019 Yahoo Finance report. But before you go to work with your head in the clouds, employers will still have the right to impose drug-free policies and restrict any marijuana use that they see fit.
A significant element of Prop. 207 applies to those who currently or previously faced charges for the possession, sale, and/or distribution of marijuana, as most AZ counties decided to avoid prosecuting the simple possession of marijuana under certain circumstances. Some counties are already dismissing cases of simple possession in anticipation of Prop. 207’s enactment.
Another benefit of Prop. 207 is it will create an expungement process for those who have prior possession charges. So, if you got caught hitting the pipe or possessing a small amount of marijuana and that is holding you back, then getting an expungement may potentially remove your charges from your record as soon as July 2021.
Keep in mind that Arizona is not alone in its cannabis legislation. Montana, South Dakota, and New Jersey also embarked on the decriminalization and legalized recreational use of marijuana in this year’s election. While much of Prop. 207’s legal process has yet to be fulfilled, it’s time to kick back, grab the snacks, and enjoy the higher lifestyle thanks to the Smart & Safe Act.
If you are facing criminal charges or have any questions about how Prop. 207 impacts you, don’t hesitate to contact us at (928) 323-0910!
AP News Local Election Results and Statistics (AP News, 2020).
Arizona Voters Approve Proposition 207, Making Recreational Marijuana Legal in State (AZ Central, 2020).
Arizona Approves Prop 207 to Legalize Marijuana (NORML Foundation, 2020).
Prop 207 Passes (ABC 15, 2020).
County Attorneys Dropping All Pending Charges For Marijuana Possession Following Prop 207 Passage (Fox10, 2020).
How Legalized Cannabis Changed Colorado in the Past Five Years. (Yahoo Finance, 2019).