Plenty of reasons to vote no on Prop. 207 marijuana legalization

Proposition 207, the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, has something for everyone to oppose.

Arizonans who want a qualified workforce for Arizona’s economy: Proposition 207 will severely limit an employer’s ability to act against impaired workers and workplace marijuana positive tests will increase.

According to the most recent national survey on marijuana use, 32% of young adults ages 18 to 25 who live in states where recreational marijuana is legal are regular users of the drug. In states where the drug is not legal, the rate of use for that age group is 21%.

Many of Arizona’s largest employers are required to comply with federal drug testing laws that ban marijuana use. What will happen to Arizona’s economy when our employers can no longer find a qualified workforce?

Arizonans who want safe roads: Legal marijuana means more stoned drivers. Marijuana use impairs the ability to drive safely, slows the driver’s reaction times and clouds their judgment.

In Washington state, traffic fatalities involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana have doubled since the state legalized marijuana in December 2012. In Colorado, someone died every three days in 2018 in a traffic fatality involving a driver who tested positive for marijuana. Five years earlier, it was one every 6½ days.

AAA opposes legalizing marijuana because of the traffic safety risks. Alarmingly, Proposition 207 weakens Arizona’s DUI laws by eliminating the current bright line standard of marijuana impairment, making it more difficult to protect ourselves from stoned drivers.

Arizonans who want teens to mature into a bright future: Marijuana use negatively impacts learning, memory and coordination in a young brain, causing academic failure and poor sports performance, according to the Mayo Clinic. A  study published this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that recreational marijuana legalization was followed by a 25% increase in adolescent (ages 12 to 17) marijuana use disorder.

States that legalized recreational marijuana have among the highest teen use rates in the nation. Noting the negative social outcomes for adolescents who use marijuana, the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote a compelling letter in opposition to Proposition 207 for the General Election Publicity Pamphlet. The Arizona Medical Association also strongly opposes 207.

Arizonans who want safe neighborhoods: The measure creates a legal right to use marijuana and its high potency extracts, and to grow up to 12 plants in a two-adult household. Under the cover of similar “home grow” laws, foreign drug cartels infiltrated California and black market activity rose in Colorado. Your HOA will be powerless to protect your neighborhood. Arizona’s law enforcement community strongly opposes Proposition 207.

Arizonans who support open markets: The medical marijuana industry is almost single-handedly funding the legalization initiative and has raised more than $5 million to convince you to vote for their sweetheart deal. Why? Because Proposition 207 gives existing medical marijuana companies a virtual monopoly on recreational licenses, allowing them to transition medical marijuana businesses to for-profit commercial operations and sell recreational marijuana from the same storefronts. They also will be able to eliminate medical directors, a requirement of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, and ignore any medical marijuana regulation deemed “unduly burdensome.”

And all that revenue they promise? It’s a mirage.

In the six Western states with recreational marijuana, tax revenue accounts for less than 1% of state revenues. A revealing study in Colorado found that each dollar brought in by marijuana taxes requires spending $4.50 to mitigate the exploding black markets, car crashes, and costs related to health care and high school drop-outs.

Proposition 207 caps the marijuana tax at 16%. Arizona’s lawmakers will have to figure out how to battle the negative consequences of recreational marijuana with no hope of taxing those who are making millions.  

Ballot measures enjoy unique status under the Arizona Constitution. They cannot be changed, fixed, or repealed by legislators. Every single word in the initiative’s 17 pages of self-dealing becomes law if it passes. Proposition 207 permanently locks Arizona into this social experiment at the expense of our kids, our roads, and our economy. The industry gets rich while Arizonans suffer the consequences.

There are plenty of reasons to oppose Proposition 207. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry urges you to vote no. 

Glenn Hamer is president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

Glenn Hamer

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