Recreational marijuana is not yet legal in Arizona, but still the state pulled in over half a billion dollars in medical marijuana in 2019. That’s more than the previous year and a sure sign that voters could very well make it 100 percent legal during this fall’s election.
As of 2019, there were about 220,000 registered medical marijuana card holders in Arizona. Together, they purchased more than 83 tons of medical grade marijuana, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services, and there are no signs of this slowing down. In fact, we’re only seeing growth and if the ballot pushes through, that growth will only explode, bringing in more revenue than the state could have imagined.
From 2018 to 2019, the amount of cardholders increased by 18% while the increase in purchase was 36% higher. The most popular medical marijuana product to purchase is dry flower at 75 tons, but card holders also used over 6,000 pounds of edibles and over 9,000 pounds of concentrates. This makes for a whopping sales volume of $580 million dollars in just one calendar year. That number could easily triple if recreational marijuana becomes legal in Arizona this year.
In the meantime, groups are rallying to make marijuana legal recreationally and have so far raised $1.6 million, much of which came from private business contributions, individuals, and medical marijuana dispensaries. If recreational marijuana passes in Arizona, this is great news for those who have been convicted of marijuana possession. In fact, a new ruling could mean offenses like this will be record expunged from criminal records and many individuals currently serving time could be vindicated and set free. This is one of the biggest benefits of having the ballot pass this fall.
One of the biggest contributors to the cause of making marijuana legal in Arizona is Harvest Health and Recreation Inc., a dispensary with headquarters in Tempe, AZ. They donated $250,000 in the last quarter of 2019. Overall, however, Harvest has given $785,000 to move along the campaign. Another big donor comes out of Los Angeles. MedMen Enterprises gave $200,00 to the campaign as of October 2019. However, they have been selling off their licenses in Arizona. If the initiative passes, however, the market value for a dispensary license in Arizona will skyrocket. Therefore, both dispensaries have a large stake in the game and a chance at huge returns.
As of now, it is not clear whether the upcoming ballot will have an opposition. There are some vocal critics of the initiative to make marijuana fully legal in Arizona. One of them is Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, a chairwoman of the group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy. However, she has no plans to oppose the ballot, which is great news. Instead, the group will continue to work at raising awareness of the harmful effects of modern marijuana. In the 2019 ballot, one of the biggest opponents who donated was Discount Tire. However, the company founder, Bruce Halle, has since passed away. In all, his company donated over $1 million to stop marijuana from becoming legal.
This is an exciting time for the residents of Arizona, especially those who do not qualify for a MMJ card but could still benefit tremendously from using marijuana.