With only a month to Election Day, The Blunt Truth turns its attention to the ballot measures in nine states that would expand legal access to marijuana. This week we look at two of the five states— Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada —with ballot measures proposing to legalize recreational marijuana use for anyone 21 and over:
ARIZONA: Proposition 205 would allow adults to buy and possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants at home. The initiative would establish a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control, which would be tasked with regulating the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana; and impose a 15 percent tax on marijuana sales that would benefit municipalities, schools and the state health department.
Legalization opponents filed a lawsuit challenging Proposition 205 in mid-July. On Aug. 31, the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision that had comprehensively rejected all of the reasons presented by opponents for keeping the initiative off the ballot, marking an end to any legal challenge.
According to the most recent campaign finance filings, proponents of the measure–The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol–had outraised opponents by almost two-to-one. (AZ Secretary of State database) Recent polls show a close battle, with support around 50 percent, opposition at 39.9 percent, and 10.2 percent undecided. (“Arizona Marijuana Legalization Favored by Majority in State, New Poll Shows.”)
CALIFORNIA: Proposition 64 would allow adults to possess up to an ounce of pot and grow six marijuana plants at home. Cannabis sales would be subject to various tax rates that would be deposited into the state’s Marijuana Tax Fund.
The initial taxes imposed would be a 15 percent state excise tax on retail sales, and cultivation taxes of $9.25 per ounce of flower and $2.75 per ounce of trim/leaves. Supporters estimate that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act could potentially result in $1 billion annually in state tax revenue.
Other provisions include a restriction on marketing toward minors and allowing for resentencing and the expungement of records for prior marijuana convictions.
Recent polls show support for the measure at about 58 to 60 percent. (“Most California voters support legalizing recreational marijuana, poll finds”)
California voters rejected an attempt to legalize recreational marijuana in 2010 after campaign leaders struggled to raise money and support for a hastily written four-page ballot measure.
This time, the 62-page ballot measure was crafted by political professionals and has the backing of many elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018. The measure is also backed by former Facebook president Sean Parker, who has put about $2.5 million towards the legalization campaign. (“Ex-Facebook President Sean Parker donates another $1.25 million to pot legalization campaign”)
California was the first state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana, in 1996. (“Medical marijuana in California: a history”)