Arizona was the only state in the November elections to not pass its recreational marijuana ballot measure. Despite the loss, proponents of recreational marijuana are hopeful for what the future holds for legal recreational marijuana in the state. Supporters are planning to push either for a legislative process or for another round at the polls.
Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (the ‘No on 205’ campaign) raised $5.6 million to defeat the measure, and reports show that the amount this group raised was more than four states combined – California, Maine, Massachusetts and Montana, according to Tucson News Now. Governor Doug Ducey, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Senator Jeff Flake were three of the biggest backers of the No on 205 campaign.
Carlos Alfaro, Arizona political director for Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), said, “We expected that the political elite would be against legalizing marijuana. Those people won over millions who saw the proposition as counterproductive and people who thought money was not being made from legalization.”
MPP and the ‘Yes on 205’ campaign reportedly raised $5.2 million in campaign funds. Even with strong efforts, the momentum just couldn’t overcome the propaganda that led to Prop 205’s demise.
Scott Chipman, Southern California chair for Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, said, “Arizona is a much smaller state (than California), so it’s much easier to communicate to the entire population. It’s not as liberal as California. The momentum in California was much stronger to legalize.”
Steve Fox, co-founder of National Cannabis Industry Association, said, “It was very close, it didn’t lose by a wide margin. It certainly had significant opposition in both a political and financial sense, with both Ducey and (Maricopa County Attorney) Bill Montgomery strongly against it.”
Alfaro said, “The industry is growing in Arizona. Over 100,000 patients are using medical marijuana – they have a voice. We are taking steps to lobby, we are taking steps to put propositions on the ballot, we will see it legalized. It’s only a matter of time.”
Mikel Weisser, AZ NORML chapter director, said, “I believe that the national movement is going to win in Arizona. The appetite is strong and nationally the trend is going toward legalization.”