Once again, Arizona will have the chance to approve marijuana for medicinal use. The Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project – largely backed by D.C.’s Marijuana Policy Project – handed in 252,000 signatures in April. This week, AZ’s Secretary of State determined that the initiative qualified for the November 2, 2010 ballot – in fact, it is the first initiative to qualify for the ballot as the deadline for petitions is still a month away.
This will be the fourth time since 1996 that medical marijuana is put before Arizona voters. In 1996 a measure was approved but eventually scrapped by the legislature. In 1998 the issue was again before the voters with a provision preventing lawmakers from changing measures approved by voters. However, the language used in the measure ruined the law’s chance as it allowed doctors to “prescribe” rather than “recommend” medical marijuana – a distinction that could have led to doctors losing their ability to write any prescriptions. In 2002 the language was fixed, however, the measure was defeated.
Now Arizona has a chance to join 14 states and the District of Columbia in allowing the use of medical marijuana.