Arizona Cannabis Debate Heats Up with 50% in Favor of Legalization

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As November 8 encroaches upon us, the Arizona cannabis industry is preparing for all outcomes. As it stands, the Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll indicates that 50 percent of Arizona residents are in favor of legalization, 42 percent oppose it and 8 percent have not decided. This is about the same result that was found in the August polls, despite expensive ads coming out, both for and against legalization, yet it’s hard to know for sure what direction the state will ultimately take in November. Pro-Prop. 205 ads feature former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon talking about his dependence on opioid painkillers and how medical marijuana allowed him to get better. He says that marijuana should be available to all adults who need it. The prohibitionist ads talk about marijuana negatively affecting children.

Fears Despite Statistics

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If statistics are to be trusted, Arizona shouldn’t expect an increase in teen marijuana use should cannabis be legalized.

The anti-marijuana sentiment is that it would endanger children, potentially hurt the economy and lead to drugged driving. The pro-legalization response to this is that state health department surveys show no rise in teen use of marijuana in states that have legalized it. There has been no data to show an increase in drugged driving and that even though it would be illegal anyway, studies indicate that driving under the influence of marijuana is much safer than driving under the influence of alcohol. Pro-Prop. 205 supporters argue that a legal, regulated and taxed Arizona cannabis industry would drive the money from the black market back into the hands of the government and ultimately schools and communities. Colorado was able to put millions of dollars into schools and communities due to the legalized industry this year and other states have been able to experience similar benefits. Crime and opioid related deaths are also down.

The Tire Company That Opposes Arizona Cannabis

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Many see those opposing marijuana legalization as directly supporting pharmaceutical companies.

Discount Tire Co. donated $1 million to the prohibitionist campaign to say no to Prop. 205. The founder of the $6.3 billion company, Bruce Halle, is a supporter of Gov. Doug Ducey who is raising money to oppose the bill. The company now features on the Secretary of State’s website as the biggest donator to opposing Prop. 205 along with Big Pharma companies that produce opioids. Prescription opioids kill tens of thousands of people a year, while marijuana has never killed anyone in any recorded history. This kind of activity is being seen as hypocritical, for the sake of keeping money in the hands of pharmaceutical companies. For this reason, it has led to a boycott on the tire company from those in favor of passing Prop. 205.

Inspiration for a Boycott

The sentiment is clear on social media with Prop. 205 supporters such as Lisa Olson saying that Discount Tire Co. is siding “with Big Pharma, in keeping cannabis illegal, helping the black market to thrive” and “denying a revenue resource for our public schools…” and Kathy Inmam, executive director of MomForce AZ, saying, “Here we have one natural substance that’s never taken a life, and they are taking money from the makers of someone who makes opioids … we’re all beside ourselves, and that’s why we’re calling for a boycott.”

All the arguments continue until November 8th, when the state will decide on the future of Arizona cannabis laws.

 

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