The legalization of medical cannabis in the state of Arizona opened the doors to other marijuana laws, slowly but surely. Although Arizona remains a state with relatively strict views against cannabis (the law to legalize recreational marijuana failed to pass two years ago), the future is looking greener for the Grand Canyon State. Many of the recent Arizona primary winners support cannabis initiatives, giving cannabis supporters hope for the state’s near future. Here’s what we know so far.
Who Won the Arizona Primaries?
A 2018 Primary Incumbent Report Card from NORML Arizona showed that many candidates on the ballot appeared pro-cannabis-rights based on things they’ve said and stances they’ve taken in the past. Marijuana supporters will be happy to know that many winning candidates have high grades on the NORML report card – possibly placing Arizona in a position to pass new laws legalizing recreational cannabis, or at least making it easier to obtain medical marijuana. Here’s a breakdown of a few winners and their views on cannabis:
- Kyrsten Sinema. [Democrat.] B. Sinema has generally avoided the topic, but she has called for the federal government to stop interfering with state programs – showing promise for state marijuana laws.
- Martha McSally. [Republican]. C. McSally hasn’t said anything for or against marijuana, giving her a neutral view. Her NORML grade is much better than the two candidates she beat – Joe Arpaio and Kelli Ward, who both received “F” scores.
- David Garcia. [Democrat.] B+. Garcia’s campaign has supported the marijuana industry. He also gave a statement on the Concentrates Crisis, showing his alignment with green laws.
- Doug Ducey. [Republican]. C-. Despite a history of being anti-marijuana, Ducey signed the hemp bill and says he wants to help the industry this upcoming session.
While the primary winners don’t directly spell a victory for marijuana, they do give hope to greet supporters in the state. Experts predict efforts to at least improve the state’s medical marijuana program in the next year. This comes as good news after the failure to get the Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative on the November 6, 2018, ballot. This initiative would have legalized recreational marijuana possession and consumption for people 21 and older.
What to Expect for the Future of Arizona Marijuana Laws
It appears the country has relaxed its view on marijuana in the last few years. With more states passing medical and recreational marijuana laws (without any negative consequences so far), many cannabis supporters believe it’s only a matter of time before Arizona and other states follow suit. Although recreational marijuana won’t achieve legalization in the coming year in Arizona, it’s very possible it will make the next ballot – especially considering the relatively cannabis-friendly winners of the most recent primary election.
Today, it is illegal to purchase or possess marijuana unless you have a valid medical marijuana ID card, obtained from a state-operated dispensary. With this card, you can purchase up to 2.5 ounces over a two-week period. Arizona has had medical marijuana laws in place since 1996. Twenty years since passing that first cannabis law, in 2016, a law that would have legalized recreational marijuana in the state failed to pass (48.7% voted yes, 51.3% voted no).
The 2016 failed law moved the next opportunity to 2018 – an opportunity that ended with a rejection of putting the initiative on the 2018 ballot. Despite a few setbacks, Arizonians are hopeful for a greener future. As more citizens push for looser marijuana laws, many believe it’s only a matter of time until the state follows the lead of more cannabis-friendly states like its neighbors, Colorado and California. Only time will tell how the “greener” primary winners may change the landscape of marijuana laws in Arizona.