On November 3rd, 2020, some 60% of Arizona voters passed Proposition 207, making AZ the 13th state to approve adult-use cannabis for those 21 or older.
The AZ legalization law—officially known as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act (SSAA)—is now in effect, though dispensaries won’t be able to sell any adult-use cannabis until at least March of 2021, when the state is expected to begin licensing them.
Even if that date feels painfully far away, there’s plenty to catch you up on until then. We’ll share what we know about the SSAA thus far, and tell you about some of the ways it might affect you personally.
AZ Legalization Law: What It Promises for the State
Arizona’s new cannabis legislation promises to be a game-changer for the Grand Canyon State. Depending on whom you ask, the SSAA is expected to bring in anywhere from about $250 million to $300 million a year in tax revenues. Those funds will first be used to administer the adult-use cannabis program and compensate law enforcement, and then go primarily to community colleges. While some education advocates had hoped that the cannabis revenues would go towards the state’s underfunded K – 12 educational programs, the projected income was deemed too small to make a meaningful difference in this arena.
What the New Laws Mean For You
Of course, the question on most people’s minds is: When do I get to have access to adult-use cannabis? Here are some burning questions to start us off:
–When can I possess cannabis? Starting Nov. 30, 2020 (the expected date of the Secretary of State’s certification of the measure), adults 21 and older who are legal residents of the state will be able to possess up to an ounce of cannabis flower and up to 5 grams of cannabis concentrate.
–Can I grow cannabis? Starting on the same date, adults will be able to grow up to six marijuana plants at home. At properties with more than one adult, the number goes up to twelve.
–When can I buy cannabis? As we shared earlier, adult-use dispensaries aren’t expected to be licensed until March, 2021 at the earliest. But the SSAA allows that if the state hasn’t issued adult-use licenses by April 5, medical dispensaries will be permitted to sell cannabis to adults who are legal residents of Arizona.
–When can I use cannabis? There’s a good deal of fine print, but the easiest answer is: On private property. Cannabis use will be illegal in restaurants, bars and other locations. And don’t forget: It will still remain illegal on all federal lands, such as national parks!
–Can I drive under the influence of cannabis? Don’t even think about it. Under the SSAA, the state has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards driving under any degree of cannabis impairment.
–Can I use cannabis at work? That depends on your employer. The SSAA stipulates they have the right to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.
–Can I get cannabis delivered? Not yet. While Arizona currently permits delivery of medical cannabis, it seems the intricacies of guaranteeing safe and secure delivery will take longer to work out. The SSAA stipulates that on or after January 1, 2023, the Arizona Department of Human Services can work out rules to govern the delivery of adult-use cannabis as well.
AZ Legalization Law: The End of Cannabis Prosecutions?
Almost as soon as the ballots were counted, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office was preparing for a historic course correction. In a statement released the Monday after Election Day, the office signaled that it would no longer prosecute any charges connected with adult use of cannabis:
“Instead of continuing to spend resources on these cases, this office will begin implementing the will of the voters immediately.”
What’s more, the SSAA contains language to address the expungement of prior cannabis-related convictions. Starting July 12, 2021, those who were convicted (or merely charged) for possessing less than specific amounts of cannabis products, plants or paraphernalia can petition to have their criminal records expunged.
There’s more to the SSAA, of course. In addition to fine print about the amount of THC permitted in edibles—no more than 10mg per unit, if you’re curious—and specific amounts of cannabis products one can possess, there’s plenty more to unpack. Rest assured we’ll be keeping you up to date on this important and exciting development. And if you have any burning questions of your own, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to help!