Recreational marijuana could be coming to the state of Arizona faster than expected. Not wanting to wait for the 2016 elections, an Arizona state representative has introduced a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana within the state.
House Bill 2007 would allow anyone over the age of 21 the ability to possess up to an ounce of marijuana without fear of reprisal from the authorities. Additionally, if the bill were to pass, those of age would be able to legally grow up to five marijuana plants, which is somewhat confusing because unless you’re a horrible grower, you will surely end up with more than a single ounce from 5 plants... This is especially true with marijuana grown outdoors, which can produce huge yields from a single plant. Oh well, I guess they will figure that out later, possibly implementing height restrictions on the plants.
In another head scratcher, the bill includes a provision where up to an ounce can be exchanged between two parties—however, no money can change hands during this transaction. Looks like the old barter system is making a comeback!
Among dispensaries which attain a recreational sales license, a $50 per-ounce sales tax would be levied on all marijuana transferred from grow facility to the retail location. This seems a bit high to me, and like Colorado and Washington, Arizona needs to be careful to not tax customers out of the recreational market, instead sending them to the cheaper medicinal marijuana system where taxes are usually in line with the state sales tax. Even worse, high taxes could drive customers back to the black market. Oregon is pretty much doing the same thing, but their per-ounce tax is only $35, a bit easier to stomach. Smoking marijuana in public would still remain banned.
Within the State of Arizona, reaction to the idea is split, even among the cannabis crowd.
“All these kids are doing to get it, and then what’s going to happen?” asked Richard Baker, who uses medical marijuana to treat rheumatoid arthritis but opposes recreational use.
“We’re going to have a bunch of flunkies,” Baker said, adding that marijuana has dulled his memory.
Meantime, a man who asked to be identified only as “Stev-o” said enforcing existing marijuana laws is a waste of tax dollars.
“I think it costs us more to try to stop it than what it would actually cost to allow it to be legal,” he said, adding that he smokes marijuana recreationally to de-stress and treat sporadic pains.
Watch the news video and get the whole story by Jon Erickson at abc15.com