Arizona might be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana. The state representative of Arizona, Mark Cardenas, recently started drafting a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana. He believes that the state needs to be proactive on the matter because it is easier to change a legislative bill than it is to change a ballot initiative passed by voters. The state of Arizona has a Voter Protection Act which prevents the legislature or governor from tampering with a ballot initiative or referendum passed by voters.
“In order to change (a voter referendum or initiative) we have to have 75 percent of the legislature agree to that change and so with something that is as controversial as marijuana you are not going to get 75 percent of the legislature to fix it,” Cardenas said.
Even though it looks like the state is being proactive and taking action to move forward with marijuana reform, a lot of people are not buying it. Members of the Marijuana Policy Project (MMP) do not believe the state legislature will pass Cardenas’ bill so they are currently drafting a voter initiative to legalize marijuana in 2016.
“State officials are elected by voters and if they are not going to get this measure passed in the legislature than the voters can do it directly and that is why there is a voter initiative process,” Mason Tvert, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said.
Though MMP would support a legislative bill legalizing marijuana, Tvert said ending marijuana prohibition in Arizona will likely only happen through a voter-passed initiative.
This initiative would have a significant impact on a lot of cannabis companies because a lot of companies have operations in Arizona. These companies include NDEV, MNTR, MDBX, INSY, HEMP, GRNH, ERBB, EDXC and CANA