Arizona votes to legalise marijuana use for adults over 21

  • Arizona voters supported a ballot measure to legalise the use of marijuana by adults over 21.
  • Proposition 207 imposes a 16% excise tax on the retail sale of marijuana and marijuana products.
  • It also establishes a process to expunge law-enforcement and court records of marijuana-related drug offences before the effective date of the proposition.
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Arizona has voted to legalise marijuana use.

Proposition 207, also known as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, legalizes marijuana for possession and consumption by adults over age 21. Included in the proposition is a 16% excise tax on retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products.

Now that the measure passed, with 59.9% of the vote, the state will introduce a process to expunge law-enforcement and court records of marijuana-related offences before the effective date of Proposition 207.

An analysis in Arizona’s 2020 general-election publicity pamphlet said Proposition 207 would:

1. Allow a person who is at least 21 years of age to lawfully possess and use one ounce or less of marijuana, including not more than 5 grams of marijuana concentrate (for example, hashish), as well as up to 6 marijuana plants at that person’s primary residence. (Producing, possessing and using marijuana would remain illegal under existing federal law.)

2. For a person who is under 21 years of age, reduce the penalties for unlawful use of marijuana to a civil penalty for the first violation, a petty offence for a second violation and a class 1 misdemeanour for subsequent violations.

3. In addition to the sales tax, impose a 16% excise tax on the retail sale of marijuana and marijuana products.

4. Transfer $US45,000,000 from the medical marijuana fund for a variety of different programs and purposes, including the Arizona teachers academy, public health, traffic enforcement, education relating to legalizing marijuana, expunging certain criminal records and implementing a social equity ownership program.

5. Establish a petition process to expunge law enforcement and court records relating to arrests, charges, adjudications, convictions and sentences for specific marijuana-related drug offences that occurred before the effective date of the measure.

6. Direct that monies from licensing and renewal fees, application fees, civil penalties, excise taxes and penalties related to selling and testing marijuana be deposited in the smart and safe Arizona fund. Monies in that fund would be used first to pay for the costs of implementing, administering and enforcing the measure. If monies remain in the smart and safe Arizona fund, the monies would be allocated to community college districts and provisional community colleges, municipal police and fire departments, fire districts and county sheriffs’ departments, the Arizona highway user revenue fund and various “justice reinvestment programs” including:

(a) Public and behavioural health, including substance use prevention and treatment.

(b) Restorative justice, jail diversion, workforce development, industry-specific technical assistance or mentoring services for economically disadvantaged persons in communities disproportionately impacted by high rates of arrest and incarceration.

(c) Reducing drug-related arrests and the prison population in this state.

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