This November, Arizonans will decide on a ballot measure that would legalize and regulate the sale of recreational marijuana. Local dispensaries predict massive industry growth if Proposition 205 is passed.
Joel Williams is a supporter of the ballot measure. Williams controls five dispensaries throughout Arizona, including Lake Havasu Citys Farm Fresh Medical Marijuana Dispensary, and foresees significant benefits if Proposition 205 passes. His dispensaries serve about 2,000 medically-prescribed patients throughout Mohave County.
Im in favor of it, Williams said. It will beneficial to the community, as well as to patients. If Prop 205 passes, were expecting our number of patients to become 10 times what it is now. Wed expand (Farm Fresh Dispensary) to accommodate the additional business, not just from Havasu, but from weekend vacationers, spring breakers and our snowbirds. Wed operate similar to liquor stores.
The Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control, which would be formed under Proposition 205, would regulate manufacturing, testing, transportation, growth and sale of marijuana. Only adults 21 and older will be permitted to purchase marijuana, and a portion of tax revenue collected from marijuana sales will go toward Arizona Poison Control for educational campaigns about the dangers of substances such as marijuana and alcohol.
Patients who have medical prescription cards for their marijuana purchases will receive one benefit that recreational users will not have medical patients will not be required to pay the 15 percent sales tax.
Proposition 205 will also allow Arizonans to grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes for personal use. Residents will not be permitted to sell the crop those plants yield, and Williams says that Farm Fresh will not sell seeds for such plants.
We consider ourselves gatekeepers, Williams said. Were the only dispensary that we would call completely organic we have a 10,000 square-foot growing facility in Phoenix. We dont use extra chemicals or insecticides. When you see black market traffic, you usually see marijuana that could be infected with insecticides, chemicals and sometimes even heroin, which growers think will add to the drugs effect. By dealing with licensed dispensaries, people are getting medicine that meets with state and county standards.
While Williams supports the ballot measure, he says that it may be a vote thats too close to call.
Four years ago, the sale of medical marijuana in this state only passed by 4,000 votes, he said.
Jack Dunn, of Havasus High Desert Healing, says his dispensary will maintain its medical license, but will also obtain a recreational permit to continue helping medical patients in need, while assisting those who dont qualify for a medical marijuana prescription card, or do not want to obtain one.
Based off of all the numbers coming out of the states that currently sell recreational marijuana, it appears business will definitely increase, Dunn said. Most of the detailed rules have not been written yet, so at this time its difficult to tell how the law will affect our business. Some of the obvious challenges are going to be physical space and marketing to new clientele.
Dunns dispensary is in favor of Proposition 205, he says, and has made contributions to the Marijuana Policy Project, which has advocated for the ballot measure. Many dedicated members of the medical marijuana community have worked tirelessly on this campaign and done a great job.
The passage of Arizona Proposition 205 could raise an estimated $53.4 million in additional government revenue in fiscal year 2019, and nearly $82 million in 2020, through the legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana.
This is according to the Arizona Legislature, which was tasked with filing a fiscal analysis for Proposition 205 earlier this year. According to the ballot measure, Proposition 205 would create a Marijuana Fund, which would receive revenue from a 15 percent tax on retail marijuana sales. The money would go toward the Department of Revenue, communities in which marijuana dispensaries are located, to school districts in those communities, and to the Department of Marijuana License and Control which will be formed if the ballot measure is passed this November.
The proposition has received support from U.S. Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-3) and Ruben Gallego (D-7), as well as from State Senator Martin Quezada (D-29), and from school board officials throughout the state.
Supporters of the proposition say that it would replace the illicit drug trade with a regulated market, thereby making communities safer. The measure would also allow police resources to be diverted toward more serious crimes, and would create new jobs to support local businesses.
Opposition to Proposition 205 includes Gov. Ducey, U.S. Representatives Trent Franks (R-8) and Matt Salmon (R-5); as well as from the Arizona Republican Party, the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police and the Arizona Association of County School Superintendents.
Opponents say the law would create and protect a for-profit monopoly on marijuana products. Opponents also say that marijuana-laced edibles could endanger children, and that marijuana could impair drivers in Arizona.
According to a survey conducted by the Arizona Republic and Cronkite News found that 50 percent of respondents supported Proposition 205, including 64 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Independents. Opposition included 56 percent of Republican voters.
Arizona is one of five states deciding on the legalization of recreational marijuana this year.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Havasu Marijuana Dispensaries Eye Business Growth If Prop. 205 Passes
Author: Brandon Messick
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Photo Credit: Brandon Messick
Website: Havasu News