July 2, 2020

Legalization Bids Pay Off in Arizona and Nebraska

July 2, 2020
Ballot

Advocates in Arizona seeking to legalize recreational (adult-use) marijuana flooded the secretary of state’s office with twice the number of signatures necessary to qualify to be on the ballot this coming November. Then, in Nebraska they did the same twenty-four hours later.

Cannabis Legalization in Arizona

A citizens’ initiative, led by Smart and Safe Arizona, filed 420,000 signatures with the Secretary of State on July 1, 2020, well over the 237,645 required to qualify the initiative on the November ballot.

“Arizonans are ready to legalize cannabis, and this is the right policy for our state,” Arizona Dispensary Association President Steve White, CEO of Tempe-based Harvest Health and Recreation, said in a statement. “New jobs and revenue are even more critical, today, than when we embarked on this campaign last year.”

If approved, the measure would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis, as well as grow up to six plants at home for personal use, reported AZCentral.

The Smart and Safe Arizona initiative would also set up a system for issuing retail licenses to already-licensed medical-marijuana dispensaries in Arizona, plus 26 additional social equity businesses.

Another important element built into Arizona’s measure, advocates agree, is that it provides an option for people previously convicted of low-level marijuana offenses to have their records expunged.

Chances of passing in November are high to very high.

According to an independent poll conducted by HighGround Inc. in May 2020, 65% of Arizonans said they will likely vote yes on the measure. Of those, 47% said they will “definitely” vote yes and 18.5% said they will “probably” vote yes.

“As long as Smart and Safe Arizona can qualify for the ballot, all signs point to 2020 being the year that recreational marijuana finally becomes legal in Arizona,” Paul Bentz, of HighGround Inc. said in a statement in May when the study results were released.

Cannabis Legalization in Nebraska

Meanwhile, 24-hours later in Nebraska, activists submitted over 182,000 signatures to qualify for a proposed 2020 medical marijuana ballot initiative.

Members of the coalition Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana gathered at the state capitol in Lincoln on July 2 where they turned in over 182,000 signatures from registered voters, enabling them to qualify a medical cannabis legalization measure for the 2020 ballot. 

“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’s voters will approve this initiative in November,” said Nebraska State Senator Anna Wishart, who also serves as co-chair of the Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana campaign committee.

Nebraska is one of the only states in the nation that neither permits regulated access to either whole-plant cannabis or CBD.

And there’s more…Earlier in the week, proponents in Montana also provided signatures to their state officials to legalize the retail production and sale of adult-use cannabis.

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