Group unveils proposed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use, sales

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star

Arizonans who want to use marijuana recreationally would get a lot of places to buy it legally under a plan unveiled Wednesday.

The proposed legislation written by the Arizona Cannabis Chamber of Commerce seeks to have the Legislature place the measure on the 2020 ballot to allow for 230 retail outlets for the sale of the drug.

That is 100 more outlets than the current number of dispensaries that exist under the 2010 voter-approved law allowing marijuana to be sold for medical use.

The new measure also would allow for establishment of 25 “craft” licenses, aimed at helping those who want to process marijuana but are not associated with any of the big growers or retailers.

It also is designed to recognize that there are rural areas of the state without easy access to medical marijuana, said Mason Cave, a member of the advisory board of the group proposing it.

A quarter of the new licenses that would be created under the recreational marijuana proposal would be earmarked for cities and towns that do not have an existing dispensary within 25 miles.

The measure also would allow possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by anyone 21 and older.

It also envisions an excise tax — essentially a levy on top of sales taxes similar to what exists on liquor — capped at the 16% range.

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