A decision by the state supreme court means that voters in Mesa and across Arizona will get to decide whether recreational marijuana should be legalized. The justices recently ruled unanimously against a group seeking to take the initiative off of this year’s ballots. Their decision means that the initiative, called the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, will be on the state’s ballots for this November’s elections.
‘Smart and Safe’ legalization initiative
If it passes, the Smart and Safe Arizona Act will make it legal for people aged 21 or older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. It would also establish a system for licensing dispensaries to sell marijuana and related products. While the initiative garnered enough signatures to get on the ballot, a group called the Center for Arizona Policy went to court to get it removed. The group claimed that the short summary of the initiative that signature gatherers provided was misleading.
The case reached the Arizona Supreme Court, which ruled against the Center for Arizona Policy on Aug. 20. They affirmed a lower court decision, in which the judge ruled that the summary followed the law by informing readers of the initiative’s key points.
However, another initiative related to marijuana and state drug laws has failed. That initiative was called the Second Chances, Rehabilitation and Public Safety Act. It would have asked voters to consider changing the law to give judges more discretion when imposing sentence for certain crimes. It would also have given people currently serving prison time for non-dangerous offenses like drug possession to be released after serving half their sentence if they participated in certain programs while behind bars. A dispute with officials over if supporters had collected the minimum 237,645 signatures required to get on the ballot led to the effort’s end.
Arizona’s marijuana laws are still in effect
As more and more states legalize marijuana for personal and medical use, the number of people getting charged with marijuana-related crimes will continue to go down nationwide. But until that happens in Arizona, you can still get arrested and accused of possessing, selling or growing marijuana in the Phoenix area. If that has happened to you, your next move should be to contact an experienced