Along with numerous other states, and several other countries, Arizona is now planning to start down the path of marijuana legalization. The Secretary of State will be receiving more that 260,000 petition signatures, which is 100,000 more than required to call for a statewide vote in November. The new initiative would try to treat marijuana the same way that state laws treat alcohol and would be planned to come into effect in early 2018.
The legislation will be called “Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act” and according to 12news, some of the highlights include the following:
- The sale of marijuana and related products like edibles would start March 1, 2018, to people 21 and older.
- Individuals could possess and use one ounce or less of marijuana and possess up to six marijuana plants.
- Marijuana buyers and business would pay new taxes and fees to state, county and local governments.
- A new state agency would oversee marijuana sales and businesses.
- Driving under the influence of marijuana would be illegal.
As you can see, if this happens, the state laws regarding marijuana would become similar to other states that have already gone down the legalization path. One of the bigger differences and incentives in the new initiative is going to be the taxation and allocation of those taxed dollars – to the state’s education program.
The deputy campaign manager, Carlos Alfaro, says “It will add money to our schools,” and “There will be a 15 percent tax that will be added on to legal sales, and that would go toward all-day kindergarten programs and K through 12.” That’s a pretty large chunk of change to get handed to the school system every year, in fact, a fiscal analysis by the Legislature’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee states that schools would receive 30 million the first year, and more than 50 million every year following.
Legalization in Arizona is by no means a sure thing as there are already people vocalizing their disapproval of the change, claiming that years and years of substance abuse work will be uprooted at the snap of one’s fingers and that this would be the worst thing to happen to children in Arizona.