Arizona Becomes 15th State To Approve Medical Marijuana

Although many were disappointed by the failure of Proposition 19 (legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes) in California, the midterm elections weren’t without their small victories for those that endorse marijuana for use as medicine.

Nearly two weeks after votes were cast, a measure to legalize medical marijuana passed in Arizona by a very narrow margin. This makes Arizona the 15th state to allow the use of medical marijuana.

Proposition 203 cleared by just 4,341 votes out of some 1.67 million that were counted. Supporters collected more than 252,000 signatures just to put the measure on the ballot — nearly 100,000 more than required.

“Now begins the very hard work of implementing this program in the way it was envisioned, with very high standards,” Andrew Myers, campaign manager for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project told the Associated Press. “We really believe that we have an opportunity to set an example to the rest of the country on what a good medical marijuana program looks like.”

In 1996 and 1998, Arizona voters overwhelmingly approved a medical marijuana law but it never went into effect because of problems with its wording.

Major opposition to the campaign claimed that approving medical marijuana is merely a stepping-stone to increased crime near dispensaries, more people driving while impaired, and eventually, recreational legalization.

The argument that medical marijuana dispensaries attract crime is weak at best, however.

According to Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck, “banks are more likely to get robbed than medical marijuana dispensaries.” Beck pointed out that in 2009, the LAPD received reports of 71 robberies at the more than 350 banks in the city, compared to only 47 robberies at medical marijuana facilities which number at least 800. Similar results were found in Denver, Colorado as well.

Click here for a map that shows how medical marijuana laws have spread across the country over the years.

Like this story? Connect with Beth on Twitter or StumbleUpon!

Image Credit: Flickr - ElPablo!


LMj Sunshine

Still waiting, thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Still waiting, thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Still waiting, thank you.

Darren McCauley
Darren McCauley5 years ago

Marijuana is not for every person on Earth...Just like not all people can or should drink alcohol...I wonder why we can't learn anything from other countries that have reduced crime because of marijuana legalization...

Cassandra Claesson
Past Member 5 years ago

Stop government interference and manipulation of facts about weed. Look up where the word marijuana came from, OK.

Robbin Everitt
Robbin Everitt5 years ago

Was one of their arguements REALLY driving impaired???? How can liquor be sold on every street corner and not pot? I have seen impaired drivers on liquor and pot. The one I would want driving ME is the pot smoker. They drive slower and more careful, maybe even over on the side of the road:) I can't believe this is an actual arguement!!!!!!!!!!! Not only that, but a drunk will fight you at the drop of a hat and a pot smoker will make love, not war:)

Manoj S.
Manoj Stenstrom6 years ago

Nice to hear about, in my parts of the world (Sweden/India) Medical marijuana legalisations around the world will cause for more research and finally will swedish politican have to face their lies :) So thanks every yes voter .. Legalizee

Krista Israel
Krista Israel6 years ago

This is so surprising considering their previous laws on Marijuana. Wasn't it a felony even to have a personal use amount on you? This is a huge step for them in listening to their people for once and getting away from the red neck republican image they have.

Mary E. C.
Mary C6 years ago

It should be legal

Stephen Young
Stephen Young6 years ago

Its a joke either its legal or not