Press Release

ARIZONA VOTERS APPROVE [CANNABIS] LEGALIZATION

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Proposition 207 would take [cannabis] possession from felony to legal in Arizona

Arizona voters have approved Proposition 207, a statewide ballot initiative legalizing the possession, use, and commercial sale of [cannabis] for adults. The Act permits those age 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and directs revenue from retail cannabis sales to fund various public education and safety programs. Adults may cultivate up to six plants for non-commercial purposes in a private residence. Those with [cannabis] convictions are permitted to petition the courts to have their records expunged.

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said: “Until now, Arizona had imposed some of the strictest prohibition laws in the country; in some instances, the possession of even small amounts of [cannabis] was classified as a felony. By rejecting this failed policy, no Arizonan going forward will be saddled with a criminal conviction for engaging in the personal possession or cultivation of cannabis or face the lifelong stigma that comes with it.”

Altieri added, “Proposition 207 will disrupt the illicit market, end low-level [cannabis] arrests, create jobs and new revenue. This result once again shows that [cannabis] legalization is not exclusively a ‘blue’ state issue, but an issue that is supported by a majority of all Americans — regardless of party politics.”

Arizona NORML’s Executive Director, Ryan Wilson, offered the following comment:

“Today, Arizona’s voters opted to put their government’s failed war on [cannabis] in the rear-view mirror where it belongs. In the early-20th century, our state enacted a prohibition on [cannabis] to unjustly gin up charges against its Latinx residents. However, as time made clear, prohibition is not only unjust, it’s counterproductive. It is also inconsistent with Arizona’s proud tradition of respecting personal liberty and celebrating rugged individualism. Decades ago, Barry Goldwater said his day’s ‘overriding political challenge [was] to preserve and extend freedom.’ In adopting Prop. 207, Arizonans accepted Goldwater’s invitation to extend freedom while also defunding drug cartels who deal in death and destruction.

This outcome would not have been possible without our past Executive Director, Mikel Weisser, who laid down his life for the law, suffering a heart attack while fighting the prohibitionist machine on behalf of everyday Arizonans. To get this initiative on the ballot, Mikel worked tirelessly across the state. He was responsible for gathering thousands of signatures for the initiative, and he ensured that consumers had a seat at the table as it was drafted. Without Mikel’s efforts, the initiative may never have made the ballot, and it certainly would not have included the cultivation rights and strong expungement provisions that proved key in securing its passage.

Arizona NORML’s efforts did not stop with the untimely passing of Mr. Weisser, however. To the contrary, to nurture grassroots support for Prop. 207 and push back against disinformation, its board members held near-daily informational livestreams in addition to tabling at dispensaries for hours. Meanwhile, our team also spearheaded a get-out-the-vote effort that included phone-calls to more than 63,000 registered voters.”

We are pleased with the results of this election, but our work is not done. In coming months, we look forward to addressing other pressing matters in Arizona, including anti-competitive local ordinances, and to pressuring our representatives in Congress to fight for federal laws—like the MORE Act—that reflect the preferences of Arizona voters.”

To schedule an interview with a member of Arizona NORML, contact:
Jon Udell, Communications Director
Phone: (480) 258-5597
Email: JonU@arizonanorml.org

CONTACT:
media@norml.org
703-231-2325

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