By KYLE WASSON
Despite the reinstatement of Gov Jan Brewer, Arizonans took a step in the right direction (all 51 percent of them), and set bias aside to pass Proposition 203, the medical marijuana measure.
Although 1.6 million people voted on Prop. 203, the race came down to 4,300 votes. With our dismal financial future, 203 gives new meaning to the words “hope” and “change.”
Prop. 203 aims to give people with a debilitating disease or chronic pain the chance to acquire a recommendation from their physician for cannabis.
State-regulated dispensaries will allow patients to purchase marijuana in various forms as medicine. A patient can receive up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks from any of the 120 dispensaries Arizona plans to open by summer 2011.
I’m not speaking from a medicinal standpoint nor am I speaking about recreational use when I talk about more green for the state: MONEY. With legalization comes revenue, and that’s what Arizona needs.
The California Board of Equalization estimates that 2010 tax revenue from medicinal marijuana sales will exceed $1.3 billion.
I know what you’re thinking: “We should pour more money into closing off our borders and focus on the drug war!” News flash: The border and drug wars have failed and will continue to fail. The only way to alleviate the problem is to cut drug traffickers out of the equation.
By legalizing marijuana for medicinal use, we Arizonans are helping patients in need, making a conscious decision to stop illegal sales and reviving our failed economy.
Imagine the millions of dollars that are wasted on arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating medicinal marijuana users. The funds could be used to revive more important things, such as education.
Many of you are thinking that anyone will be able to get a prescription. Unlike California, however, Arizona plans much more regulation.
By not allowing more than 2.5 ounces per user, and preventing growth of the plant within 25 miles of a dispensary, Arizona will heavily limit users. Arizona’s 120 dispensaries are nothing compared to California, which has more than 300 dispensaries in Los Angeles alone.
Speaking of which, Proposition 19 on California’s November ballot called for legalization of marijuana statewide.
Sadly, the proposition did not pass. Weeks before voting, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger passed a new law stating marijuana infractions of an ounce or less will be handled by fine instead of jail time, as part of a plan to deter voters.
California will always be, well, California. But at least they’ve got one thing right. Has their state called for martial law due to legalization? NO.
Put your bias aside and find out what cannabis can do for Arizona. Hey, everybody else is doing it, right?
Kyle talks about his future.