In a statement of opposition, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) called the state’s cannabis legalization ballot initiative “a bad idea based on false promises,” according to a Capitol Media Services report. The governor said he would vote against the measure in November claiming that legalization in other states has led to increased traffic deaths, increases in teen drug use, and cannabis exposure in newborns.
In the statement outlined by CMS, Ducey said that the state’s medical cannabis program “is serving the people who need it for health-related reasons.”
In their 2020 political scorecard, NORML graded Ducey with a “D.” During his 2016 campaign, he said he didn’t “think any state ever got stronger by being stoned.”
As part of the initiative process, Arizona voters will receive pamphlets from state officials containing arguments both for and against the reforms. Arizona Public Health Association Executive Director Will Humble will write arguments from both sides. On one hand, he said, his organization broadly supports the idea of criminal justice reform; however, he suggests that “on the other hand, there is good evidence that these retail marijuana laws increase access to people under 21” and cannabis is “harmful to adolescents.”
Humble said he is “probably going to vote for it.”
Late last month, Arizonans for Public Safety – who oppose the reforms – filed a lawsuit against the initiative. The anti-cannabis group argues that the 100-word summary of the petition does not tell voters the reforms would allow more potent forms of cannabis, changes state driving under the influence laws, and doesn’t specifically say that the proposed 16 percent tax on sales can’t be increased by the Legislature.
In 2016, the cannabis legalization initiative in the state failed 52-48 percent.