By Brian Offenberger
Arizona Legalized Marijuana
What It Means for Munds Park
Arizona voters went to the ballot box this past November and overwhelmingly approved Proposition 207, which legalized adult use of recreational marijuana in Arizona.
How will this new legislation impact you, the residents of Munds Park?
As a resident of Munds Park that works in the cannabis industry, I’ll share some perspective on the new law and what it means to our community.
Prop 207 allows for recreational marijuana use and possession for those 21 or older except in public places; allows minor, nonviolent marijuana offenders to petition to have their criminal records expunged; and imposes a 16% excise tax to support a variety of underfunded programs across Arizona.
Arizona’s existing medical marijuana program will remain intact with this new legislation. Medical marijuana patients will pay less for cannabis products than recreational users and will avoid the excise tax imposed on recreational users. Medical users will also have access to more potent products and will be given preferential treatment concerning product availability.
Marijuana use and possession remain illegal at a federal level. Arizona’s new legislation does not supersede federal law. The practical effect of Arizona’s new adult use recreational cannabis legislation is to govern behaviors and use within the state only.
Arizona will allow licensed dispensaries only to legally sell marijuana products to recreational and medical users. It’s expected recreational sales in the state will start on or around April 5th.
Arizona has tightly capped the number of dispensaries it will allow to sell cannabis (about 160 total statewide). I doubt we’ll ever see licensed dispensaries selling marijuana in Munds Park. Our community simply isn’t large enough to economically justify a dispensary in Munds Park. In addition, this legislation allows communities to block the sale of recreational cannabis products within their jurisdiction. That means communities like Munds Park can reject the sale of recreational products in their city.
The closest place to Munds Park to legally buy marijuana will be in Flagstaff.
It’s unclear if businesses within Munds Park will be able to allow marijuana consumption at their establishments.
The Smoke Free Arizona Act prohibits smoking in most public places. That means cannabis consumption in public places is prohibited. However, the Smoke Free Arizona Act does allow for establishments to allow smoking in outdoor patios under certain conditions. It’s uncertain, at this time, if marijuana consumption will be legal under these circumstances with this new legislation.
If you own an Airbnb or other rental property in Munds Park, I suggest you develop and enforce a marijuana use policy for your property. You’re free to set whatever house rules you please. Set and enforce rules governing use of marijuana, both inside and outside your property. And as you develop your policy, be mindful of other residents. Your neighbors may not like 20 people in your backyard hitting on a bong all afternoon. Make sure you cover your marijuana use policies in detail in your rental agreement.
Pro tip – if you allow cannabis consumption on your property, and you indulge yourself, ask your renter to leave behind some flower to share. You never know when you’ll run across some premium home grown and it sure beats a $20 gratuity.
I expect the major impacts residents of Munds Park will see with this new legislation is two-fold:
Residents will see their state enforce marijuana legislation and use behaviors that reflect the desires of the people. Arizonans overwhelming voted for adult use of recreational marijuana, and now our legislation reflects those beliefs. We’ll no longer be labeling law abiding marijuana users as criminals, and that’s a huge positive leap in the minds of most in Arizona.
State tax revenues will increase. Recreational marijuana products come with a 16% excise tax, in addition to state and local sales taxes (about 9%). If the state uses this additional tax revenue for its intended purpose, we should see improved support for community colleges, mental health facilities, efforts to combat impaired drivers and a wide array of support for other underfunded needs of the state. Our quality of life should improve with prudent use of this new tax revenue.
Will you notice more marijuana use in Munds Park because of this new legislation? Maybe. We’re all more aware of this new legislation and with awareness comes observation. We may see more because we are looking for more.
Will your daily life change? Probably not. Sure, you’ll be able to smoke a joint legally on your patio. But for the most part, your daily routines won’t be impacted.
Would you like to know more about legal recreational marijuana use in Arizona? Send us your questions to Hello@ThePinewoodNews.com.