Arizona citizens will no longer face repercussions for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana as of today.
Following that announcement, an Arizona prosecutor from Maricopa County announced that they would be dropping pending cannabis-related charges faced by adults.
"Instead of continuing to spend resources on these cases, this office will begin implementing the will of the voters immediately," the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said in a written statement.
Now, upon the certification of ballots following Proposition 207, also known as the Smart & Safe initiative which is expected to occur today, the possession of recreational marijuana will be legal in Arizona for adults aged 21 and up.
"It's decriminalized once the initiative passes and is certified by the Secretary of State, but legal sales won't begin until around March of 2021," Stacey Pearson, Campaign Manager for Smart and Safe Arizona, told 12 News.
While possession of up to 28 grams of cannabis will now be legal, cannabis dispensaries aren't expected to be licensed until March 2021, meaning there is no legal way for adults to purchase cannabis until then.
2021 will see several states implement legal cannabis markets, which may result in hundreds of millions in additional tax revenue across the U.S. by the end of 2021. Illinois, for example, generated $75 million in October alone from cannabis sales. Similarly, Arkansas generated over $187 million in medical cannabis sales since the state legalized medical marijuana in May of last year.
With the passage of these initiatives, one-third of the population now lives in jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis for adult use, and 70% of all states have embraced cannabis for medical use. The federal government is out of step with a clear national trend toward legalization.Steven Hawkins, Executive Director of Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
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