In his latest article, Why lawmakers should ignore voters and legalize pot, Arizona Republic news columnist EJ Montini makes a great argument for legalizing recreational marijuana use in Arizona. Montini believes that legalizing marijuana is inevitable, and that it should happen via the Legislature instead of a voter ballot initiative. Learn why in the excerpt below from Montini’s article:
…sooner or later – and probably sooner – another initiative for legalization will pass. Look at the national trend. The change in attitudes among generations. It’s going to happen. Besides, with the prescription opioid epidemic raging, does anyone believe marijuana is the big problem?
Aside from all the pro and con arguments dealing with pot, however, the best reason for legislatively legalizing marijuana is simple: Control.
If legalization were to come about by way of a voter initiative neither the governor or Legislature could touch that law. They couldn’t tweak it. Couldn’t do anything to it.
But if the Legislature were to pass a bill legalizing recreational marijuana then lawmakers would have total control over all aspects of the transactions. They’d get to determine how many licenses would be granted. And where the distributors would be located. And how much they would be taxed. And where that tax money would go.
And should any aspect of that process not go the way they wanted it to go they could change the law. Fix it. Readjust it. Even repeal it.
It’s the smart way to go.
There’s a bill in the legislature that would do this.
It’s House Bill 2007, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Mark Cardenas.
The proposal allows for a small legal amount of marijuana, a small amount that can be grown by individuals, some big fat taxes and more. Such a thing could be tweaked at any time by lawmakers. Or even completely removed from the books if they decided it wasn’t working.
Responsible lawmakers would recognize the trend. They’d look to the future. They’d listen to what was said in a concession statement by the chairman of Arizona’s pro-legalization campaign, J.P. Holyoak.
He said in part, “We thank the more than one million Arizona voters who cast their ballots in favor of ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. We are disappointed the initiative came up short, but we are encouraged by the impressive amount of support it received … This year’s election did not close the book on marijuana prohibition in Arizona …”