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Smart & Safe Arizona and Marijuana Law in Arizona

Arizona Recreational Adult Use Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaign

AZ Cannabis 2020

On Nov 3, 2020, Arizona became the 13th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older when Arizona voters passed Prop 207 by 60% to 40%. The new law will be known as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act (SSAA).

Marijuana possession and use will be legal for adults 21 and older once the Secretary of State certifies the ballot initiative, which will be sometime in December 2020. However, dispensaries will not be able to legally sell recreational marijuana until they get licensed, which should be sometime around March 2021. Home cultivation will also become legal once the initiative is certified.

Arizona lawmakers will have to establish regulations for the new Arizona recreational marijuana industry by the deadline of April 5, 2021.

Here are 18 facts about the SSAA:

1. Adults 21 and older would be able to possess 1 ounce of marijuana with no more than 5 grams of it being marijuana concentrates (extracts).

2. Limits home cultivation to 6 plants at an individual’s primary residence and 12 plants at a residence where two or more individuals who are at least 21 years old reside at one time.

3. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) would have to establish recreational marijuana regulations on or before April 5, 2021.

4. A 16% excise tax (the same as cigarettes and alcohol) would be placed on recreational marijuana products. Money from the excise tax would fund various state agencies and be dispersed between community college districts, police and fire departments, and the Highway User fund.

5. Marijuana use would remain illegal in public places (restaurants, parks, sidewalks, etc). Offenders are guilty of a petty offence.

6. No marijuana products could be sold that imitate brands marketed to children or look like humans, animals, insects, fruits, toys or cartoons.

7. Marijuana edibles will be limited to a maximum of 10mg of THC per edible, and limited to a maximum of 100mg of THC per package of edibles.

8. Employers have the right to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.

9. Driving, flying or boating impaired to even the slightest degree by marijuana would remain illegal (i.e., zero tolerance rule).

10. Marijuana testing facilities will test marijuana for harmful contaminants (i.e., pesticides, molds, etc).

11. “Qualified early applicants” (qualifications are currently undetermined) can apply for a recreational dispensary license (approx. 145 licenses will be available) with the ADHS. Any remaining or additional licenses will be provided by random selection.

12. The ADHS may issue a marijuana establishment license (recreational marijuana dispensary license) to no more than two recreational dispensaries per county that contains no medical marijuana dispensaries, or one recreational dispensary license per county that contains one medical marijuana dispensary (the ADHS will accept applications from Jan 19, 2021 – Mar 9, 2021).

13. On or before April 5, 2021, medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell recreational marijuana to adults until the ADHS issues licenses for recreational dispensaries.

14. Medical marijuana dispensaries that obtain a recreational marijuana dispensary license(s) could operate both entities in the same/shared location.

15. Possessing more than one ounce but less than 2.5 ounces would be a petty offense. Minors caught with less than one ounce would receive up to a $100 fine and four hours of drug counseling for a first offense. A second offense would be up to a $100 fine and eight hours of drug counseling. A third offense would be a Class 1 misdemeanor.

16. Smoking in a public place would be a petty offense.

17. On or after Jan 1, 2023, the ADHS can adopt rules to permit recreational marijuana deliveries.

18. Beginning on July 12, 2021, people convicted previously of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana or six or fewer plants or paraphernalia can petition to have the record expunged.

View the initiative: Smart & Safe Arizona Act

Arizona Marijuana Regulations

In 2016, Proposition 205, an initiative attempting to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona failed 48.23% to 51.77%. If Prop 205 would have passed, adults in Arizona could have been legally enjoying recreational cannabis for the past few years without the fear of felony prosecution for simply possessing or using the drug.

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC2.0 Modified

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