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Up in smoke: Arizona voters make their voices heard on Prop. 205

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The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce applauds Arizona voters and the business community for making their voice heard and saying NO to Proposition 205—Arizona’s ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana.

Although this measure would have established a tax on the sale of retail marijuana, in turn increasing public funding of education from tax revenues, the social and economic costs would have greatly outweighed any funding received.

Mike Huckins

Mike Huckins

As a champion of the business community, the Chamber advocated strongly against this ill-conceived measure. A mandate of this nature would have impacted negatively the business community and the local economy. The legalization of recreational marijuana would have created yet another hurdle to attracting and retaining businesses to Arizona at a time when many Valley economic development organizations are focused highly on business retention and expansion (BRE) efforts.  This measure would have caused significant ambiguity for all Arizona businesses to regulate a drug-free workplace.

This measure, if it had passed, would have limited an employer’s ability to prevent employees from working while being mpaired by marijuana consumed outside the workplace. In addition, it would have exposed employers to litigation for trying to impose workplace restrictions other than those specifically outlined in the measure.

Why did this initiative fail then, considering all the hype and media attention?

Other than the many drawbacks and number of public concerns, it was a poorly written measure and contained contradictory language. Many voters, news outlets and analysts looked to Colorado and it was clear that the tax revenue didn’t materialize as expected. Voters and the business community saw through the ulterior motives of the marijuana special interest groups. Ultimately, the focus on youth use and public safety were likely the cautionary nails in the coffin to defeat the measure.

We recognize the fact that some states have already adopted measures or initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana to some degree, while some are just deciding to legalize the use of medical marijuana. Arizona is just not there yet.

Prop. 205 was never in the best interest of Valley businesses and Arizona as a whole.  For now, it’s best that marijuana remain legally available through a doctor’s recommendation only.

Mike Huckins is vice president of public affairs at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

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The views expressed in guest commentaries are those of the author and are not the views of the Arizona Capitol Times.

3 comments

  1. “Why did this initiative fail then, considering all the hype and media attention?”. You seriously ask that question when your group and others representing the pharmaceutical companies ran SO many negative ads? Ads that were so full of misrepresentations that groups in Colorado, where things were SO terrible according to you, asked you to stop running them? Yeah, the reason it failed is a real mystery. LOL!!

  2. If I recall correctly, the margin between 205 pros and cons was a mere 80,000 votes out of some 2.5 million votes cast. That’s about 0.3 percent of the votes cast, a number probably equal to or less than the number of pro-legalization voters who voted “no” in reaction to the dispensaries’ attempted market grab, also a part of 205. A simple legalization proposition like the one that passed overwhelmingly in California and seven other states (some quite culturally conservative) would have passed in Arizona too except for the defections based on the dispensaries’ greed. Come next election, assuming the dispensaries agree that their slice of a bigger pie will be big enough, marijuana legalization will proceed in Arizona. If Maricopa County and the AZ Chamber of Commerce choose to continue lying to their declining audience and forego the local tax revenues and lessened crime associated with legalization in state after state, so be it. Their day will be done, one way or the other.

  3. “The legalization of recreational marijuana would have created yet another hurdle to attracting and retaining businesses to Arizona at a time when many Valley economic development organizations are focused highly on business retention and expansion (BRE) efforts. ”

    Yet states like Colorado have had no trouble attracting & retaining business after cannabis legalization. More lies by prohibitionists. It’s just a matter of time, Arizona will legalize within the next few years, in spite of lying scumbag organizations like the Chamber of Commerce. Until then, Northern Arizonans will continue to flock into SW Colorado to buy cannabis & cannabis products. More tax money for us. Our little town of Durango has raked in over $1M in sales tax revenue on cannabis just in 2016. Your loss, our gain.

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