Editor’s note: This is one of five states with cannabis legalization for medical or adult use on the ballot today.
Arizona voters have passed Proposition 207, which legalizes cannabis for adults twenty-one and older. Before today, eleven states and D.C. had already legalized cannabis for adult use.
Proposition 207 will allow residents to grow up to six plants at home, and provides a path for the expungement of some cannabis-related convictions. It would also direct money from the 16% excise tax on cannabis sales toward schools, law enforcement, fire departments, and a “highway user revenue fund,” according to the language of the initiative. It also sets aside twenty-six licenses for applicants from communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
In 2016, voters in Arizona were alone in rejecting adult use legalization, which passed in four other states: California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada.
Polling on legalization in Arizona has been mixed, though support rose as the vote neared. An October Monmouth University poll showed 56% support for legalization, while 36% said they were opposed, up from only 51% support in September.
Arizona voters passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act in December 2010, which made Arizona the fourteenth state to enact a medical cannabis law. Today, the state has nearly 280,000 medical cannabis patients, almost half of whom are between the ages of 18 and 40, the latest Arizona Department of Health Services monthly report shows. More than 94% of these patients qualify with chronic pain as a condition.
Perhaps providing a glimpse into the future epicenter of the state’s adult use cannabis industry: Two-thirds (66.5%) of the state’s entire medical cannabis patient population live in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix.
The campaign behind Proposition 207 was funded by existing medical cannabis companies in the state, which includes multistate operators like Harvest Health and Recreation and Curaleaf. The measure puts these entities at the front of the line for new adult use business licenses.