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US (AZ): First steps for cannabis legalization effort

The Smart and Safe Arizona Initiative has filed a petition with the Secretary of State for clearance so that the group can start a campaign to gather signatures which will see marijuana legalization put on the state’s 2020 ballot.

Under the initiative, adults who are 21 or older will be able to buy, possess, consume and cultivate marijuana in the state. The initiative also has provisions that will make it possible for people with prior low-level marijuana convictions to have their records wiped clean.

Under the proposal, a fraction of the tax revenue generated from the sale of recreational marijuana will be allocated to the community colleges in the state, as well as to the health and infrastructure sectors.

Some of the provisions in this initiative favor the medical marijuana companies which are currently operating in Arizona. For example, the proposal suggests that the medical marijuana dispensaries in the state will have first priority as retail licenses are issued to companies that would like to participate in the distribution of recreational marijuana. Additional retailers can then be selected randomly by the Arizona Department of Health once the medical cannabis dispensaries have been granted retail licenses.

While this initiative has provisions which are intended to win the support of the marijuana industry in the state, there are other provisions which favor the customer. For instance, the inclusion of home cultivation is good for residents because it gives them a way to keep their costs low, if they have the interest in growing their own marijuana.

The proposed legalization initiative suggests some restrictions on marijuana edibles. These include a ban on the sale of gummy worms and gummy bears which resemble products consumed by children. The THC content of marijuana edibles would also be capped at 10mg per serving.

This initiative is coming at a time when support for marijuana legalization is high, but a number of factors may make the work of the campaigners hard.

For example, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is opposed to marijuana legalization and is on record saying he was glad that a previous ballot measure in 2016 had failed.

The campaigners will also be aware that medical marijuana was legalized through a slim majority during the elections of 2010. Getting the 237,645 voter signatures to put the initiative on the ballot may therefore the easy part while the real work lies in convincing voters that marijuana legalization is good for them and the state.

For now, the activists in Arizona can count on the support of the cannabis industry in the state as well as the growing interest in seeing an end to marijuana prohibition across the U.S. as factors working in their favor.

Source CNW420

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