At the end of an extremely chaotic, uncertain year, the sunny state of Arizona saw a glimmer of hope: after ten long years, AZ finally made the decision to legalize recreational cannabis. For the citizens of Arizona, especially those unable to obtain their own medical marijuana cards, this is a decision that’s been a long time coming and oh-so anxiously awaited.
But, how did the Arizona media respond to all of this?
Today, we’re taking a look at the idea of cannabis legalization from the media’s perspective and what they have to say about this sudden change.
Arizona passed Proposition 207 in November 2020, legalizing adult-use cannabis in the state.
This was a landmark decision for a state with such previously harsh cannabis convictions.
Now, the media is picking up the pace and staying on top of news regarding Prop 207– and they seem to be quite in favor of it.
Campaigns like Smart and Safe AZ fought for the passing of Prop 207 in the first place, and now they spend time advocating for cannabis education and rights.
Arizona local news also hopped on the bandwagon, reporting about recreational cannabis and what it means for AZ residents.
Prop 207 in Arizona, and What it Means
Before the passing of Proposition 207, Arizona previously had some of the strictest cannabis conviction laws in the state. Not to mention, up until the 2020 election, the Copper State almost exclusively voted Republican, the party that’s been more against cannabis legalization than anyone else. So, when the state overwhelmingly passed Prop 207 at the end of November, a lot of people were taken by surprise.
Proposition 207 outlines the legal use of cannabis for adults who are 21 years or older, while no longer considering possession of an ounce to be a felony. With this, this landmark proposition is also tackling cannabis justice reform, expunging criminal records with low-level cannabis possession, cultivation, distribution charges.
Again, changes like these are remarkable in any state, but especially a state with such harsh drug laws as Arizona. But, it’s obvious that things are changing, and the residents aren’t the only ones who are happy.
How the Media Responded
Media coverage surrounding cannabis legalization in Arizona has been somewhat quiet in national news, but local Arizona stations and publications continue to report on how Prop 207 is unveiling.
Smart and Safe Arizona
Smart and Safe Arizona is a campaign advocacy group that worked tirelessly to spread awareness about Prop 207, what it would do for the state, and how it would affect its residents. Of course, the leaders behind Smart & Safe AZ were undoubtedly for passing Prop 207, and, now that it has been passed, this group’s work is only getting started.
Chad Campbell has been working on Smart and Safe Arizona’s cannabis campaign for years, continually boasting his support for recreational cannabis in AZ. As the chair of the campaign, it has been his duty to help spread the word about Prop 207, reaching out to local organizations, new stations, and representatives to help more people get on board with this decision. And, it seems as though his campaign has been nothing but a success.
From this point on, what the Smart & Safe advocacy campaign is working on is up in the air, but it’s clear that they will continue working alongside the media and everyday Arizona residents to help educate the public on recreational cannabis and the potentials it has to bring.
Local News Sources
Other local news sources around Arizona, like AZCentral, have also been quick to praise the legalization of recreational cannabis, helping residents of AZ learn more about this new change. Since a lot of this decision has gone seemingly unnoticed by the rest of the country, Arizona residents are learning all they can about Prop 207 through their local news.
Now, local sources are posting article after article about Proposition 207, what it means for residents, and what’s left to come. Recently, a few dispensaries across the state opened their doors for recreational use, sources like ABC15 state that they still have a bit more finessing to do before the whole proposition can be fully rolled out and run smoothly. Campbell, the brain behind Smart and Safe Arizona, told news sources that some recreational cannabis may be ready for purchase by January 2021, and the man was right: the state saw its first few recreational sales at the end of that month and in early February.
Along with praising the passing of the new law, Arizona media is also stressing the importance of proper and safe cannabis use, outlining where the plant can be enjoyed and how much. Essentially, the AZ media is giving residents the answers they need to the questions they’ve been asking for nearly a decade.
What’s Left to Come
So, what’s next for Arizona and its brand-new recreational cannabis program?
We will just have to wait and find out. Though the decision was backed by some serious support, this change has also brought about a lot of skepticism and concern, especially for those who weren’t necessarily happy with the passing. But, whether or not these concerns actually manifest is something the state is going to have to discover in time.
For now, the residents, the media, and the Arizona cannabis community will continue to thrive and relish in the benefits that finally legalizing adult-use cannabis has brought.