On Nov. 23, Arizona is set to officially become the 15th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana.
Almost two weeks after the Nov. 2 election, the final numbers for Proposition 203 have been tallied and the measure has passed by the slimmest of margins — a mere 4,341 votes. The final numbers: 841,346 people (50.13 percent) voted yes on Prop. 203, and 837,005 people (49.87 percent) voted no.
Passage of Proposition 203 means thousands of legitimate medical marijuana patients will be able to receive their prescriptions, says Andrew Myers, spokesman for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project.
The first medical marijuana dispensaries won’t be open for almost a year due to the regulatory process, Myers added.
He also stated that Arizona’s medical marijuana industry would be very different from that of California, which at one point had around 1,000 dispensaries in Los Angeles County alone.
Proposition 203 limits Arizona to one dispensary for every 10 pharmacies and creates a state-regulated industry. This means if pharmacy numbers remain the same, Arizona will only have 124 medical marijuana dispensaries, Myers says.
Proposition 203’s approval won’t be certified until Nov. 23, to allow those behind the scenes to double check the numbers. However, Myers doesn’t anticipate any significant changes.
The certification might also be delayed until a recount on Proposition 112 is completed. Proposition 112 would amend the Arizona constitution to require citizen-initiative petitions to be filed six months in advance of an election. Currently, a citizen-initiative petition only needs to be filed four months prior to an election. With the current vote count, Proposition 112 has lost by fewer than 200 votes, the amount necessary to cause a recount, Myers noted.
Whether Proposition 203 is legally certified on Nov. 23 or not, the measure has passed, and you can expect legalized medical marijuana to come soon to Arizona.
To see all election results, visit the Arizona Secretary of State’s website. More election coverage on AZNow.Biz includes our political columnist Tom Milton’s analysis and our recap of the election results.