With the recent passage of Proposition 203, voters made Arizona the 15th state (along with the District of Columbia) to legalize medical marijuana. The vote was a close one, with just 841,346 in favor and 837,005 opposed, just passing the 50% mark. The count from vote on election day, Nov. 2, was so close that the result wasn’t declared until nearly 2 weeks later.
Of course, Proposition 203 does not give free rein to hopeful or would-be marijuana users in the state. The new measure makes it lawful for patients with certain “chronic or debilitating” diseases or conditions, such as cancer, AIDS, or hepatitis C, to purchase up to two and a half ounces of marijuana every two weeks. In certain situations they may even be allowed to grow their own marijuana plants. A regulatory scheme will now apply to this category of marijuana use, bringing it beyond what had been strictly the realm of criminal law. To meet the medical use criteria, patients will have to receive a recommendation from their doctor and will also need to register with the Arizona Department of Health Services. Distribution will be through medical marijuana dispensaries. Initially, Arizona will permit up to 124 such dispensaries.
The campaign in favour of Proposition 203 was run by Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project. It was opposed by all of Arizona’s sheriffs and county prosecutors, Governor Brewer, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard along with other politicians.
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The Arizona Supreme Court issued two decisions this week providing guidance as to scope of