The year 2020 was indeed unforgettable, but it was even more memorable for Arizona following the passing of Arizona Proposition 207, better known as AZ Prop 2020.

Arizona’s cannabis laws were previously harsh, with severe sentences for even the littlest possession and use of marijuana. However, with the legalization of marijuana in the state and the implementation of the adult-use cannabis program, these laws are finally beginning to change.

Today, our article will cover the changes in Arizona marijuana laws and what these changes mean for other states that are yet to legalize.

Arizona Prop 207
Arizona Prop 207

What is AZ Prop 207?

Arizona Proposition 207 is a voter initiative that led to the passing of the Smart and Safe Arizona Act (SSAA) in 2020. The approval of this Act made it legal for adults 21 and older to possess, use, and cultivate marijuana. The law also provides for the licensing of dispensaries that can legally sell marijuana to consumers.

Before the approval of AZ Prop 207, cannabis convictions in Arizona were some of the harshest in the country. In addition, minor possession offenses in the state could lead to you being prosecuted as a felon.

However, with the Smart and Safe Act in place, residents of the state are free to use marijuana without living in fear of persecution. In addition, it gives those convicted of marijuana-related offenses in the past a chance to expunge their criminal records.

Reaction of the State of Arizona to Prop 207

Efforts to legalize marijuana in Arizona have been in the works for a while. In 2016, Arizonans voted on recreational marijuana under Proposition 205, but the AZ legislature defeated the measure by 51.3%. Then, in 2020, Proposition 207 appeared on the general election ballot, and about 60% of voters said yes to the proposition.

Even though this was a massive win for the cannabis community, there were still others criticizing this initiative, including the governor of Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) opposed Proposition 205 in 2016 and opposed Proposition 207 in 2020, stating, “In 2016, Arizona voters rejected legalizing recreational marijuana because it was a bad deal based on false promises.” Today, the same is accurate with this new ballot measure.

In addition, opponents of Prop 207 cited concerns about teenagers having greater access to weed. They argued that legalizing marijuana would lead to more drug or alcohol use, increased crime, decreased traffic safety, harm to public health, and lower teen academic achievement.

While these are valid reasons, marijuana advocates believe they certainly do not outweigh the many benefits of the proposition. Proponents of the campaign believe legalization reduces crime, raises tax revenue, lowers criminal justice expenditures, improves public health, increases traffic safety, and stimulates the economy.

Nonetheless, the Act was always going to cause a significant change in state policy that not everybody will favor.

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What Does This Mean For The Future?

Cannabis legalization is a good step towards ensuring greater access to marijuana in Arizona. Rather than purchasing unregulated marijuana off the black market, adults can conveniently purchase their weed from licensed dispensaries. In addition, Adult-use and medical marijuana cardholders can buy cannabis flowers, extracts, edibles, topicals, salves, and capsules legally from any licensed dispensary.

Also, the state taxing MMJ, the cannabis industry is expected to increase the state’s revenue, and Arizona would channel this towards:

  • community college districts
  • municipal police and fire departments, county sheriff departments, and fire districts;
  • the state’s Highway User Revenue Fund;
  • the new Justice Reinvestment Fund; and
  • the Arizona Attorney General and local agencies to enforce the initiative.

Moreso, the approval of Prop 207 gives hope to other states still working towards legalizing cannabis. Seeing a state like Arizona with formerly strict cannabis laws make the turn-around and accept marijuana is undoubtedly inspiring. Thus, other states could incorporate Arizona’s 2020 cannabis initiative lessons and develop better policies for its residents.

With more research coming forward about the benefits of marijuana, people’s attitudes are gradually changing towards its use. So, it’s likely that more states will be open to making marijuana accessible to both medical patients and adults.

How Elevate Can Help

Here at Elevate Holistics, we’re dedicated to helping medical marijuana patients get access to marijuana effortlessly. Our telehealth services are convenient, and we also guide you on every step of the process. So if you require an MMJ card or guidance on your journey to medical marijuana, we’re always here to help. 

Right now, Elevate doesn't currently serve the AZ MMJ market, but we have partners that do. Head on over to Heally's website, fill out your information, and you can tackle the MMJ cardholder process from there. (We promise: they're just as efficient as we are.)