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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Now is Arizona’s chance to pass Proposition 205

Jesus Barrera

A “yes” vote for Arizona’s Proposition 205 would regulate the purchasing, selling and consumption of marijuana in Arizona.

Marijuana is the most widely used drug in the United States. Almost half of adults in America admit to having tried marijuana at some point in their life, according to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center.

The current marijuana law in Arizona criminalizes individuals for non-medical marijuana use. The results are misdemeanors on people’s legal records, regardless of how much marijuana they have in their possession, which can make it harder for those individuals to gain future employment.

With Proposition 205, individuals who are 21 years old or older may not have more than an ounce of marijuana with them, and are allowed to grow no more than six plants. However, they can be fined up to $300 for possession of more than an ounce of marijuana or for smoking in a public place.

The decriminalization of marijuana would reduce the high price that Arizona’s criminal justice system spends to fight the wide variety of marijuana buyers and sellers, from the recreational users to the cartel.

RELATED: On Prop. 205 and marijuana legalization: An interview with Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenaur

Prosecution and punishment due to marijuana possession will be eliminated with legalization, which would save the taxpayer’s money.

Marijuana would no longer have to be bought and sold on the black market if it were legalized. It would be regulated by the government, which would cause a decrease in the presence of criminal groups. When people purchase marijuana through illegal dealers, they are likely to be exposed to other drugs because of their contact with the dealer. If they purchase marijuana at dispensaries there is a less likely chance of being exposed to addictive, illicit drugs.

Rather than the high cash flow of the marijuana market going to the drug cartel, it would be put back into the state. With this new sector of government, it would produce more jobs for Arizonans.

Placing a 15 percent tax on marijuana, as Proposition 205 would, adds another revenue for the state government. This new avenue of income makes it so Arizona can fund various underfunded government sects without raising property or income tax.

With Proposition 205, 40 percent of the money from marijuana will be spent on K-12 education, 40 percent on full day kindergarten programs and 20 percent on state-run drug and alcohol treatment. These are all areas in Arizona’s government that are under financed. The proposition also makes it so the funds from marijuana will not be able to be spent anywhere other than these three areas.

RELATED: Why we should defend our right to light

Not only will Proposition 205 make Arizona safer for children, it will better their education starting at a young age.

A concern that many have about marijuana is its safety for the people consuming it.

There has never been a death directly correlated to marijuana consumption—unlike alcohol and cigarettes, which are the cause of thousands of deaths each year across America. Alcohol and other drugs are known to evoke violence in the user, but marijuana is not known to do that. Nor does it cause a chemical independence like alcohol, nicotine and even caffeine.

With the regulation of marijuana, it will become safer for the users too. People can’t be sure what they are getting when they purchase marijuana on the black market. This is when marijuana can be unsafe for the user because dealers can lace the marijuana with other drugs.

Marijuana would be tested, labelled and sold at dispensaries under Proposition 205 in Arizona.

Skeptics worry the drug will impair people, promoting job loss and high volumes of motor vehicle accidents. However, it cannot be purchased under the age of 21, individuals may not drive under the influence of marijuana, it cannot be smoked in public and businesses can make their own policies about its use by their employees.

Marijuana, when legalized, is safer for the high volume of. By having the government regulate the recreational drug, it creates revenue for the state through taxes, which improves Arizona schools and helps drug and alcohol addicts.

Follow Claudia Drace on Twitter

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