Arizona: Adult-Use Legalization Initiative Qualifies for 2020 Ballot

Arizona Marijuana Laws

Voters in Arizona will decide this November on a statewide measure legalizing the adult-use marijuana market.

The Secretary of State’s Office has acknowledged that proponents of the the Smart and Safe Arizona Act gathered the required number of signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot. The Act was written by a coalition of marijuana reform groups, including Arizona NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance, and the state chapter of the ACLU.

The Act permits those age 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and directs revenue from retail cannabis sales to fund various public education and safety programs. Adults would also be able to cultivate up to six plants for non-commercial purposes in a private residence. Those with marijuana convictions would be permitted to petition the courts to have their records expunged.

Statewide polling shows broad support for the measure. According to a June poll, 66 percent of those surveyed said that they would “definitely” or “probably” vote ‘yes’ on the ballot initiative. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all expressed majority support for the measure, as did voters over the age of 65.

According to a July poll, 62 percent of likely general election voters “believe that marijuana should be legalized for adult use in the state of Arizona.”

Arizona’s marijuana possession penalties are among the strictest in the nation. Under the law, even minor offenses may be classified as felonies — punishable by up to two years in prison and a $150,000 fine.

Adult-use ballot initiatives have already qualified in New Jersey and South Dakota. Another measure is pending in Montana. Initiatives to legalize medical access to cannabis are certified for the ballot in Mississippi and South Dakota. Proponents of a medical initiative in Nebraska are awaiting certification.

Additional information on these and other pending 2020 initiative efforts is available from NORML.