Table of Contents
Arizona officially joins the list of states with legal medical and recreational cannabis by beginning its adult-use cannabis sales. Arizona had already laid the laws for medical marijuana use in 1996. But, the state took a backseat when it came to legalizing recreational cannabis for a long time. Fortunately, back in November 2020, Arizona experienced a historic moment by passing Proposition 207 called the Smart and Safe Arizona Act that allowed all citizens of the state who are 21 years or older to legally buy, possess, use and grow cannabis. While the law was passed on November 30, 2020, the sales were yet to begin. But, to the surprise of medical marijuana dispensaries and consumers, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) decided to start adult-use cannabis sales in the state in January.
On January 29th, 2021, that is two months after passing Proposition 207, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced a list of medical marijuana dispensaries that are approved to begin recreational marijuana sales in the state. The span of two months is to date the fastest enactment of a proposition legalizing recreational marijuana use. Until January 2021, Nevada held the position of starting adult-use cannabis sales in a short time of 6 months. But, Arizona took over the position by beginning its sales almost two months after passing the legislation. It was fast and unexpected to a point where most medical marijuana dispensaries had no time to prepare. According to the ADHS, out of the 79 medical marijuana dispensaries that applied to start adult-use marijuana sales, 73 are ready to be approved and licensed for sales. That’s more than half of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. It’s more than likely that the rest of the dispensaries will become a part of the same soon.
The beginning of adult-use sales is a matter of celebration not just because it happened in a record-breaking time but also because it will have a significant impact on the economy of the state. At present, Arizona is one of the many states that generate the highest revenue with marijuana sales. If we talk about numbers, the estimation is around $840 million in the year 2020 alone. The surprising aspect of this number is that the revenue is generated from medical marijuana sales alone. That’s right, Arizona is able to generate millions of dollars with medical marijuana sales only. Imagine the rise in revenue once the recreational marijuana sales also begin. Proposition 207 allows the medical marijuana dispensaries to knock at a completely new market with a new customer base. The 16% compulsory tax on recreational marijuana products combined with the licensing fees on marijuana establishments has the potential to raise the state’s economy by generating an estimated revenue of $166 million annually. And let’s not forget the new jobs that will open with the new development in the marijuana market. Looking from a customer’s perspective, possessing marijuana is no longer a criminal offense. Now there’s legal security that offers peace of mind to all marijuana enthusiasts (provided they use marijuana as per the rules of Prop 207).
Adult-use sales started earlier than expected but it’s good news for everybody. The economy of the state will benefit from the sales. And considering that the marijuana market is essentially pandemic proof, the recreational marijuana market will support the state’s economy even during the present times. The annual revenue will help cover the critical costs and also create jobs. With the approval of medical marijuana dispensaries for recreational marijuana sales, all of this will happen earlier than expected.