Countless volunteers deserve recognition for their relentless efforts
Phoenix, November 3, 2020: On November 3, 2020, Arizonans voted by an overwhelming margin to adopt Proposition 207, making Arizona the first state ever to go directly from felonization to legalization. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s annual compilation of crime statistics, more than 12,000 individuals were arrested for marijuana offenses in 2019. Because Prop. 207 legalizes low-level marijuana possession, many of these people are now law-abiding citizens who can petition a court to have their records expunged.
Arizona NORML’s Executive Director, Ryan Wilson, offered the following comment:
“Today, Arizona’s voters opted to put their government’s failed war on marijuana in the rear-view mirror where it belongs. In the early-20th century, our state enacted a prohibition on marijuana to unjustly gin up charges against Latinx residents. However, as time made clear, prohibition is not only unjust, it’s counterproductive. It is also inconsistent with Arizona’s proud tradition of respecting personal liberty and celebrating rugged individualism. Decades ago, Barry Goldwater said his day’s ‘overriding political challenge [was] to preserve and extend freedom.’ In adopting Prop. 207 today, Arizonans accepted Goldwater’s invitation to extend freedom while also defunding the drug cartels who deal in death and destruction. This outcome was made possible by our past Executive Director, Mikel Weisser, who laid down his life for the law, suffering a heart attack while fighting the prohibitionist machine on behalf of everyday Arizonans. To get this initiative on the ballot, Mikel worked tirelessly across the state. He was responsible for gathering thousands of signatures for the initiative, and he ensured that consumers had a seat at the table as the initiative was drafted. Without Mikel’s efforts, the initiative may never have made the ballot, and it certainly would not have included the cultivation rights and strong expungement provisions that proved key in securing its passage.
Arizona NORML’s work did not stop, however, with the untimely passing of Mr. Weisser. To the contrary, it nurtured grassroots support for Prop. 207 by holding near-daily informational livestreams, arranging literature drops, and tabling at dispensaries for hours. Additionally, our dedicated team spearheaded a sophisticated get-out-the-vote effort that included making more than 63,000 phone-calls to registered voters. We are pleased with the results of this election, but our work is not done. In the coming months, we look forward to addressing other pressing matters across Arizona, including anti-competitive local ordinances, which are already springing up, and pressuring our representatives in Congress to fight for laws like the MORE Act that reflect the preferences of Arizona voters.”
To schedule an interview with a member of Arizona NORML, contact Jon Udell, Communications Director – Phone: (480) 258-5597 Email: JonU@arizonanorml.org