Prop 207: Arizona 2020 Elections
This November 3, Prop 207 is being put to the voters to decide whether Arizona becomes the 12th state to legalize adult recreational use of cannabis. Voting Yes on Prop 207 will fuel millions in additional tax revenues to benefit all Arizonans. That’s a great thing, right? Absolutely, and the journey to this moment has been epic.
As an old ad once proclaimed, ‘we’ve come a long way, baby.’ Just ten years ago, Arizona voters were considering Prop 203 - a measure to legalize medical marijuana to allow Arizona residents with specific medical conditions to be treated with certain amounts of marijuana for personal use. The measure narrowly passed, garnering 50.1 percent YES, and 49.9 percent voting NO.
Since then, legal medical marijuana sales in Arizona have been surging year over year. The Arizona cannabis industry has created thousands of new jobs and generated millions in tax revenue⎯while providing much-needed relief for Arizonans with medical conditions. All legal sales are subject to the state's 5.6 percent sales tax, meaning the estimated $400 million in sales in 2018 brought in $22.4 million in revenue to the state, plus there are additional city and county taxes that range from 0.25 percent to 4 percent, medical cardholder fees, and renewals.
Why Prop 207 Matters
By 2019, Arizona was on track to reach between $620 - $760 million in medical marijuana sales. No matter your beliefs about cannabis, the market for cannabis, and the products that can be derived from it, the recreational market is not going away. The underground network for sale and distribution still dwarfs legal cannabis - all untaxed, unregulated, and unmonitored for safety. Continuing the criminalization of marijuana simply kicks the can down the road, while large portions of the country are moving with the times, and old prejudices and beliefs are fading.
The Basics of Prop 207
The marijuana proposal would permit adults at least 21 years of age to sell, possess, and consume up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes, bringing recreational markets out of the shadows and into the light of legitimacy. Prop 207, if passed, will result in:
- The legalization of the sale, possession, and consumption of one ounce of marijuana (of which 5 grams can be concentrate) for adults at least 21 years old;
- The generation of an estimated $300 million in new revenue annually to fund community colleges, public safety, public health programs, and infrastructure;
- The ban on smoking marijuana in public places like restaurants and open spaces like sidewalks and parks;
- The dedication of more than $30 million annually for addiction prevention, substance treatment, teen suicide prevention, mental health programs, and justice reinvestment projects;
- The option for people previously convicted of low-level marijuana charges to have their criminal records sealed.
In short, a vote for Prop 207 Arizona in 2020 helps us recapture much-needed revenue and tax dollars for our local economy, communities, and state. It will help ease the burden on law enforcement, prisons and put an end to disproportionate punishment, and improve job opportunities for all, especially minorities and women. We can all get behind those positive aspects, can’t we? Happy voting!