The Benefits of Cannabis Legalization in Arizona: From The Doctors’ Perspective

Arizona legalizes medical marijuana

At the end of 2020, Arizona made a decision that many of its residents have been waiting for for a long time: the state legalized recreational cannabis. 

While medical cannabis had been legal since 2010, Arizona had been tottering on the decision to legalize recreational cannabis for a decade now, with the majority of the state’s citizens voting for it.

Finally, the decision passed in November of 2020, and in-state residents are just now beginning to get a taste of a recreationally legal community. But, while we know the residents are happy about this choice, what do the doctors have to say? AZ went from one of the most anti-weed states to full recreation in a few short years. 

Today, we’re talking about the benefits of cannabis legalization in the Copper State, but from the perspectives of the doctors— those who know the plant best. Here’s what they have to say about Proposition 207.

Summary:

  • Arizona passed Proposition 207 in November 2020.
  • Prop 207 legalized cannabis cultivation and possession for adults 21 years and older.
  • Many doctors believe that this decision is beneficial for the state in one way or another, despite initial concerns.
  • Dr. Elaine Burns claims that legalization will not change the impact of medical cannabis, as there will always be a use for medicinal advice. 
  • Dr. Hope Jones believes that the benefits of cannabis will only become more widespread, and, despite concerns over increased black market use, the doctor does not believe this will have much of an effect. 

All About Prop 207

First, it’s important to establish what Proposition 207 is, and what exactly it outlines in Arizona law. 

Prop 207 is Arizona’s adult-use Marijuana Legalization Initiative that legalized cannabis possession for adults 21 years and older. Adults are permitted to grow their own cannabis plants in their home, but only up to six at a time. The plants must remain in a locked, enclosed area that cannot be seen by the public in any way. 

The prop also states that recreational cannabis sales will receive a 16% sales tax, while medical cannabis prices stay the same. This new tax will raise money to be divided between departments like community college funds, the municipal police department, the fire department, and others. 

Even more remarkable, Prop 207 also allows for those who have been convicted of low-level cannabis crimes to petition for expungement, helping to clean their criminal record now that this plant has been fully legalized in the state.

So, what do the doctors have to say about this landmark decision coming from Arizona?

What the Pro-Legalization Doctors Have to Say

Of course, some of the medical professionals in the Grand Canyon state aren’t pleased by the decision to legalize recreational cannabis, but many are. Today, we’re talking specifically to and about the doctors who are pro-legalization. 

The Medical Industry

When legalization was first announced, people were worried about the medical marijuana industry and the professionals involved. Those marijuana doctors, however, aren’t so concerned: “The [Arizona] medical marijuana program is alive and well,” Dr. Elaine Burns explains, “and if you have a medical condition, you need medical guidance.” Simply put, just because the option for recreational is there, doesn’t mean this part of the industry is going anywhere. In fact, these doctors are convinced it will only thrive more.

Medical patients will receive more perks with their medical cards, as they aren’t subject to the 16% tax on cannabis sales. With that, the expensive MMJ card fee pays for itself, a concept that’s still widely appealing to many AZ residents. Burns believes that, while some of the medical patients in the program may have been taking advantage of it, there will always be a market for real patients seeking real relief through cannabis. 

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The Black Market

The passing of Prop 207 also brought about concern regarding the black market. Many are concerned that legalizing cannabis fully only adds to the black market problem, affecting both businesses and consumers. However, Dr. Hope Jones of Emergent Cannabis Sciences isn’t so sure. 

“Bottom line is that this plant has an amazing effect on the human body and mind. People believe in the right to cultivate and those of us who truly love growing want to grow, black market or not,” she explains. “Will the black market ever go away? I don’t think so; at least, not for a while. Because, while the legal market is opening up, it’s far from open for all.”

Of course, right now, all of this is still up in the air, as recreational cannabis has only been in effect for such a short time. Soon, both doctors and consumers alike will begin to see the results of legalized adult-use cannabis in the sunny state of Arizona.

How Marijuana Could Reduce More Severe Drug Addiction

Recreational Cannabis and Its Presence in AZ

The passing of Prop 207 will undoubtedly bring immense change to the state of Arizona. While residents and doctors alike are anxiously awaiting the effects of this long-overdue decision, the state is slowly unveiling this proposition each and every day. Today, a handful of cannabis dispensaries across the state are open for adult-use sales and it’s clear that residents are excited.

Again, how this law will affect Arizona in the long-term will be discovered in time. But, until then, doctors and residents are both relishing the benefits of cannabis legalization.