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Legal Recreational Marijuana in 2016; Arizona Marijuana Reform Process News and Notes

Legal Marijuana in 2016:

Marijuana reform in the U.S. continues to roll forward and as we step closer to 2016, there are a handful of states that may seek to legalize marijuana.  Currently, there are 23 states that have made medicinal marijuana legal in some form and 4 states in which recreational marijuana use is legal in some form.  The tax revenue in these states gained from the marijuana industry is significant and a big reason why other states in the U.S. will consider the legalization process.  Time and time again, states such as Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada pop up in the conversation as strong contenders for getting marijuana legalization initiatives on the 2016 ballot.  It seems certain, given the building momentum, that the legalization process in the U.S. will continue in 2016 and Arizona could be one of the next on the list of U.S. states to make recreational marijuana use legal.

Arizona Marijuana Reform News Review:

Has marijuana prohibition been successful?  Pro-marijuana groups in Arizona do not believe that it has and are pushing for legalization for 2016.  One initiative being considered for 2016 is the Arizona Marijuana Initiative.  Given voter approval during the 2016 November election, the initiative would legalize the possession of marijuana by adults 21 years of age or older.  The ballot initiative is The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.  This initiative would levy a 15 percent tax on the marijuana sales in the state and this tax revenue would go toward development of health and education programs in the state.  A new department for marijuana licenses and control would be established which would regulate marijuana sales in the state.  Cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transporting and sales would all be regulated by the established Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control.

Which Path to Take:

According to Representative Mark Cardenas, Arizona will eventually see recreational marijuana reform.  The path to the reform is in question still though.  Voters may pass an initiative in 2016, or the Arizona legislature could approve recreational marijuana.  Cardenas prefers legislative approval instead of initiative voter approval.  Cardenas believes it is harder to alter a program that was put in place by popular vote.  When this happens, 75 percent of the legislature has to approve a change in order to modify the plan.  If the marijuana reform happens via legislative approval, Cardenas believes that an alterations to the plan can happen efficiently so that the process of reform runs more smoothly.  Either way, it appears that Arizona may be a top contender for recreational marijuana in 2016.


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