With the upcoming election, most of our focus is pointed towards our presidential candidates, Donald Trump for the Republican Party, and Hillary Clinton for the democratic. On November 8th when the polls open, the presidency is not the only category on the ballot that we need to be active in voting on. Proposition 205, which is gaining recognition in the state of Arizona, is going to be on the ballot and is a topic of discussion among residents of all ages. If passed with a 50 percent vote, the proposition will legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state of Arizona. Although proposition 205 is a controversial topic that could have a significant impact on our state, people are not informed and are being fed a negative or positive perspective without knowing the facts.
Advertising is something we all see on television almost every single day, and with the election so near, political advertisements are used by candidates and interest groups to attempt to sway the voter in a certain direction. The two main contenders regarding the proposition are “YesOn205” and “NoProp205”, who’s positions on the issue are clearly stated by their names. “YesOn205”’s campaign weighs heavily on the fact that the proposition will attempt to provide a beneficiary tax on the sale of marijuana and send that tax money to the school; the proposition intends to tax 15% on all sales, which will be divided as follows: 40% for school maintenance and operation, 40% to kindergarten programs, and 20% to drug awareness programs. This is definitely a positive for the pro marijuana interest group, but the manner in which they present it is misleading. They try to make the proposition appear entirely about school funding, providing little to no information about marijuana and the facts revolving around its recreational legalization. As for the “NoProp205” campaign, they rely solely on the negatives that have sprouted in Colorado after its legalization, much focus going towards the fact that children are getting a hold of the drug at higher rates. Both sides are very biased and aren’t straight forward with the voter, leaving some in confusion and with unanswered questions.
The fact remains that marijuana is the most used illicit drug in the country, with over 94 million people having admitted to using marijuana in their lifetime. Currently, marijuana is categorized as a Schedule 1 drug by the government. This places marijuana on the same list as heroin and cocaine. With no deaths ever coming from overdose of marijuana, it is difficult to understand how it could be subject to being put in the same conversation as these drugs. However, marijuana has been illegal for the last 84 years, and in those times their perspective on the drug was much different than society’s view on marijuana today, especially with other states having already legalized the drug. It could also be argued that alcohol and tobacco have remained legal in our country, although they are two of the leading causes of death in the United States, being directly associated with cancer and organ failure. Of course, when used in the inappropriate setting, such as driving, the effects and impairment caused by marijuana could lead to fatal death; traffic accidents and deaths caused by those accidents are one of the main controversial topics about legalization of recreational use because of the spike seen in Colorado.
In the past year, Colorado made a bit over $1 billion dollars in revenue from the sale of marijuana, translating to $135 million going towards taxes for the state; although “NoProp205” fails to mention that. On the flip side, school administrators seen in commercials claim that none of this money is going towards schools, as regulating has become a costly factor. Another issue is the fact that more children are getting their hands on the drug, with Colorado being the number one ranked state in marijuana use by children. The proposition is intended to serve adults 21 and over, creating a regulation on marijuana similar to that of alcohol, along with a one ounce limit to the amount any person can carry with them. It may be true that children are more able to get their hands on the drug since use has increased statewide in Colorado, but the regulation and restrictions has taken the distribution of marijuana away from the illegal drug trade and criminals involved in that practice, who could ultimately be interacting with those young adults. In Arizona, it is likely we will see similar results as that of Colorado, with possibly more decreased illegal drug trade since the state is bordered by Mexico.
Regulation is the factor which will put the recreational use idea into perspective for the residents of the state. As stated before, only adults aged 21 years or older can purchase the drug, which will be sold at government agency controlled retail stores, whose main purpose is to over watch the sell and marketing of marijuana. Currently, if someone was to buy the drug illegally, there could be chance that the plant is laced, with some other kind of drug like cocaine. With government created facilities, all processing, packaging, and distribution is strictly regulated. People will be buying a product that is reliable, they are able to have reassurance that the product is trustworthy and won’t have possible damaging side effects. Also, if someone wishes to grow their own cannabis plants, they may do so with the proper license and a limit on their amount.
In today’s society marijuana is the most prominent and used illicit drug in the United States. The states of Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Colorado have all legalized its recreational use, after medical marijuana proved to be a positive for many people’s lives. Now Arizona is attempting to follow them, with both sides of the issue providing strong arguments to whether or not legalization should become reality.
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Sabet, Kevin A. “Legalizing Marijuana Would Have Many Negative Effects.” Marijuana. Ed. Noël Merino. Detroit: Greenhaven, 2012. 98-103. Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 31 Oct. 2016.
“Why Vote Yes? | YES on 205: Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona.” Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2016.