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The Road to Recreational Adult-Use in Arizona

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

Cannabis allies, advocates, patients, and industry leaders are banding together to put a legal adult-use initiative back on the ballot for 2020. While medical marijuana has been legalized in the state of Arizona since 2010, a previous iteration of the recreational ballot initiative failed to garner enough votes and proved unsuccessful during the 2016 election.

Hopefully, this new path is paved with less resistance.


Voters seem much more inclined to support a legal adult-use referendum on the 2020 ballot. A poll from OH Predictive Insights of likely 2020 voters showed that 52 percent were in favor of recreational adult-use cannabis legalization and 41 percent opposed. Just 7 percent were undecided. The negative social stigma surrounding adult-use cannabis is dissipating.


To continue to garner even more support, the community needs to stand united to proactively lobby and collaborate with local leaders, politicians, and business owners, address the opposition’s baseless claims and work to ensure the implementation of smart, effective and reasonable laws and regulations.


If the efforts to legalize adult-use cannabis are fruitful, the implications and benefits for the state, and its already thriving medical marijuana market, are incredible. With legalization comes more job and revenue opportunities. According to ABC 15, “While there has been no economic impact study done to predict how many jobs or how much money the state would gain, states like Colorado and Washington have brought in between $120-300 million in marijuana-related revenue, or roughly one percent of their state budgets.”


An analysis of a report by the Arizona Department of Health Services by the Arizona Republic found that medical-marijuana sales were estimated at $400 million in sales in 2018, bringing in $22.4 million in revenue to the state, not counting the additional city and county taxes that range from 0.25 percent to 4 percent.


This is significant. Imagine what those numbers would look like with a fully legalized market.

For now, we’ll continue to monitor the campaign for 2020. But I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic that legalized adult-use in Arizona is imminent.