Bipartisan Legislation Takes Arizona One Step Closer to Marijuana Legalization

New legislation may lead to the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Arizona for those 21 and older. Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix (District 19), and Rep. Todd Clodfelter, R-Tucson (District 10), introduced House Concurrent Resolution 2037 that sends a ballot measure to voters.

What it allows:

  • Legalized marijuana of one ounce or less for personal use.
  • The cultivation of not more than six marijuana plants in the State of Arizona.
  • Excise tax on the sale or transfer of cannabis. 

What is prohibited:

  • Public consumption of marijuana. 
  • Driving under the influence. 

"The voters sent us here to do our job. They have clearly indicated that they want society to move toward the acceptance of marijuana. In other states, it's paying for the rule assessment of hospitals, schools, roads, and we need that funding here," Cardenas said.

This bipartisan legislation provides regulations to prohibit the operation of cannabis businesses in their communities. However, it does not limit the rights of medical marijuana patients and dispensaries under the Medical Marijuana Act.  Current medical marijuana laws will remain intact.

According to Clodfelter, "I believe that marijuana legalization is an eventuality in Arizona. As a Legislature, we need to decide if we want that effort imposed through a potentially poorly-crafted initiative or if we want to help write a law where we can fully vet each measure, weigh feedback from stakeholders, and build flexibility into the system in case changes are needed.”

If approved by the House and Senate, the bipartisan proposal by Cardenas and Clodfelter will provide a way to legalize marijuana in November when Arizona voters have a chance to express what they want at the ballot box.

Arizona voters narrowly rejected a legalization effort back in 2016.

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