Representative seeks marijuana legalization


photo of the writer of this opinion Joshua Bowling
Joshua Bowling
Mesa Legend

State Representative Mark Cardenas has crafted legislation in favor of the legalization of marijuana in Arizona.
This legislation, if passed, would make the sale of marijuana legal through officially licensed dispensaries.
Legislators are considering a tax to put onto each sale of marijuana. This prospective tax is going to be $50 per ounce, according to Cardenas, but the number could change.
The legislation wold also allow for individuals to grow up to five marijuana plants for personal use. Private sales of the plants and marijuana, however, would continue to be illegal.
Personal plants are allowed under the legislation in hopes of combating any theft or black markets encouraged by the $50 per ounce tax.
In some states, taxes are so high that people have began to turn to the black market, Cardenas said.“We thought that five would be enough for personal consumption …” Cardenas said. “It’s going to be good enough for maybe a quarter to an ounce per plant.”

With private citizens having the ability to grow marijuana in their own homes, private sales become a possibility. In order to avoid the $50 per ounce tax, private citizens could grow their own marijuana and sell it to interested parties.
This will remain illegal, according to Cardenas. “If you do sell marijuana, it has to be done through a Department of Health Services, regulated dispensary.”
“So if someone is selling it on the street, we know they’re not in a dispensary,” Cardenas said. “So then again you would fall under the current, existing drug-enforcement laws.”
The majority of Arizona residents are in favor of legalized marijuana, according to Cardenas.
“And there’s going to be a ballot initiative next year which will put it to the general public to vote on,” he said. Such a bill comes with pros and cons, Cardenas said.

Mesa Community College student, John Wilson, said he is in favor of the legislation, on certain conditions.  “For me, personally, I don’t mind it,” Wilson said. “I’m not a smoker myself, but I know people who do, so it would be good for them.”

Wilson continued to say the legislation should take location into account, as well. Use of recreational marijuana could be distracting on a college campus, Wilson said. Designated smoking areas would help alleviate any issues like that, he said.

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