In November 2010, Arizona voters passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The act allows for qualifying patients to apply for registry identification cards to obtain medicinal cannabis for certain debilitating medical conditions. Like most conservative medicinal cannabis legislation, strict criteria which delineated that you practically had to be a leper with organs falling out of your orifices to qualify. However, over time, these rigid qualification conditions are usually eased.
The biggest determining factors in swaying the general (voting) public that cannabis can be consumed in the same manner alcohol and tobacco have consistently been hard medical evidence and increasing taxable income of the given state. A serious heavyweight economist, Dr. Timothy Hogan, executed a study commissioned by the Regulated Dispensaries of Arizona Association (RDAA) which can be broken down in simple terms and easily replicated by others.
Using publicly available information such as local tax rates, number of dispensaries, licensing/medical card fees, and employment data from the industry (required to be maintained by Arizona), Dr. Hogan extrapolated back in March 2013 that Arizona’s tax revenue would be $36 million per year in direct sales tax revenues. Now in 2014, those projections undershot the estimated $40 million in revenue that will be collected. In addition, although the findings covered everything from typical dispensary employee pay ($15 per hour for staff, $80,000 per year for management) to the estimated future number of patients (105,000 by 2016).
It is always important to temper advocacy fervor with rationale and evenhanded estimations, however, Colorado and Washington also undershot their taxable revenue by a large margin back in early January. Cannabis should not be viewed as just another government prop to bestow upon the citizenry as proof of their brilliance and foresight. However, if that’s what it takes to cajole the feds into giving back personal freedoms, so be it. The end result of cannabis availability tantamount to alcohol/tobacco is worth kowtowing to ignorance in power.
Local newspapers and broadcast media are eager to pick up and run stories on these benefits, usually leading with the jobs angle and economic impact. However, staunch opponents of state legalization aren’t in short supply either. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery isn’t a big fan of Arizona’s voter approved medicinal cannabis law. He’s even less enthusiastic about a possible legalization push on the 2016 ballot. If any reader out there live in Arizona, put this guy’s office number on your speed dial and let him know what you think about his opinions on medical/civil rights:
|Maricopa County Attorney’s Office301 W Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85003, United States