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Arizona Could Have 2 Competing Marijuana Legalization Initiatives (Again)

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The Arizona Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, a private organization comprised of pro-marijuana Arizonans, is considering creating its own initiative to legalize adult-use marijuana in the state. The group hasn’t written an initiative yet, but they dislike aspects of the Smart & Safe Arizona initiative, so they’re discussing the development of their own initiative.

The group doesn’t think existing medical marijuana dispensaries should get first rights to recreational marijuana licenses, ABC 15 reported. However, there is an upside to that: existing medical marijuana dispensaries are already operating and in compliance with marijuana-related laws, which means they could start selling recreational marijuana the moment the state allows it; whereas, it could takes months for a non-existing business(es) to start from the ground up (i.e., get a location, licensing, approvals, marketing, and begin selling marijuana).

The group also doesn’t want to see more major companies having more control over Arizona’s marijuana market. They want to see small businesses return to the state.

But Stacy Pearson, the spokeswoman for Smart & Safe Arizona, said their initiative won’t hinder small businesses.

“Our policy is truly the best policy for Arizona, said Pearson. “The Arizona voter does not want dispensaries on every street corner, like a K-Mart. They don’t want marijuana being sold at every convenience store they walk into. Many of them are okay with recreational marijuana as long as it’s out of sight, and out of mind.”

A 16% excise tax on adult-use marijuana sales under the Smart & Safe Arizona initiative is another issue for the group. However, this excise tax is similar to the excise tax currently imposed on other adult substances in Arizona, such as tobacco and alcohol.

The group’s planned initiative may never see daylight, but if it does, it would likely trigger just enough disunity and confusion among Arizona voters to cause another failed attempt at marijuana legalization via ballot measure – just like in 2016.

View the Smart & Safe Arizona initiative.



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