Cannabis legalization will soon be headed to the November ballot in Arizona.  This November, Arizona residents will finally get the chance to vote on recreational cannabis. Medical marijuana has been legal in the Grand Canyon State since 2010, with the passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The state’s medical program is somewhat restrictive, with a short list of approved qualifying conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV or AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscle spasms, nausea, PTSD, seizures, and wasting syndrome.  Lawmakers have proposed the Smart and Safe Arizona Act to make recreational marijuana legal in Arizona once and for all. The current ballot initiative to legalize adult use of cannabis would allow Arizona residents over the age of 21 to purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis, including up to 5 grams of concentrated products. The act also includes a 16% excise act to be placed on all recreational cannabis sold in Arizona, the proceeds of which would be distributed to designated projects, such as the Highway User fund. The petition to get recreational marijuana on the upcoming ballot in November was ultimately successful. Organizers turned in 420,000 resident signatures in support of the initiative.  Campaign organizer and political consultant for the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, Stacey Pearson, laughingly called it “an appropriate number for the initiative.”  Pearson recently told, “That campaign has, in the last six weeks or so, caught fire at a grassroots level. We knew that we could grind this out. You could have somebody posted up in front of a Safeway and get a signature or so an hour. What we didn’t expect is people asking us to come to their door.” Added Pearson, “The Dispensary Association and its members have committed the resources it takes to win this…We were already in really good shape when the pandemic hit. We took a week to assess how we could do this safely. When it was clear people were ordering French Fries to the door, they’d feel safe ordering democracy.” Referring to the huge number of signatures obtained, nearly 150,000 more than the number required, said Pearson, “This cushion is bulletproof…We’re certainly not taking anything for granted, but Arizona has shifted on this issue.” Said YiLo Superstore general manager Jared Deane, “I would be very surprised and disappointed if it didn’t pass.” According to Cureleaf VP of Corporate Communications Tracy Brady, “While we can’t predict the upcoming state changes, we remain optimistic that the state of Arizona will evolve the marijuana program to serve both the medical patients and adult-use customers.” The November 2020 ballot could also prove to be crucial in the midwestern state of Nebraska.  Advocates for medical marijuana legalization in Nebraska successfully gathered over 122,000 signatures required to put the issue to a vote this upcoming November. The signatures are now awaiting validation by the Nebraska Secretary of State.  Nebraska Democratic Senator Anna Wishart told Marijuana Moment, “Families with loved ones suffering from conditions like epilepsy, PTSD, and cancer have fought for years to make medical cannabis safely accessible. Today represents a huge step forward for thousands of Nebraskans who deserve compassion. We are confident that we’ve met the requirements for ballot qualification, and after seeing the outpouring of support for our petition, we’re even more confident that Nebraska voters will approve this initiative in November."

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