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Bill Would Give Voters Chance To Weigh In On Marijuana Legalization
Rep. Mark Cardenas, a Democrat from Phoenix, has introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona a number of times. It’s never passed, but now he’s introduced it again and this time with some bipartisan support.
Cardenas and Tucson Republican Todd Clodfelter have introduced a new bill that would give voters another chance to weigh in on legalization. The proposal allows those 21 and older to possess an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants. It bans smoking in public, and it allows cities and towns to bar marijuana business.
If it passes, the issue would be on November’s ballot for voters to decide.
Now, Arizona voters narrowly rejected a legalization effort in 2016 that was a citizen initiative, but Cardenas and Clodfelter say if voters are going to eventually pass this anyway, they’d rather it start in the Legislature. That way they can help write a fully vetted law — as opposed to a potentially poorly crafted initiative.
I spoke with Jessica Berch more about this strategy. She’s a professor of law who specializes in marijuana law at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.