Prop 207: What proponents say they have learned from other states

Posted at 1:29 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 21:10:25-04

PHOENIX — Prop 207 advocates say they spent a lot of time looking into why the initiative to legalize marijuana for adult use failed in 2016. The authors of this initiative also spent a lot of time studying mistakes made by other states when coming up with the language within the initiative.

The effort to legalize pot failed by 67,000 votes in 2016.

Chad Campbell, the chairman of the Smart and Safe Arizona Prop 207 campaign said this would be a tightly controlled industry, even if it passes.

"You are not going to have an operation in every street corner. You're not going to have an operation in every drug store or grocery store," said Campbell. He added that the industry would be built upon the success Arizona has already had with the medical marijuana program, with established pharmacy owners getting the first licenses to grow and sell marijuana for recreational use as well.

Lisa James with the Vote No on Prop 207 campaign points to the problems other states have experienced since legalizing marijuana.

"The black market has thrived in states that have legalized it because now there is an invitation to grow out in the open," said James.

Campbell said they had learned from the mistakes made in California.

"California really took a more wild, wild west approach to this. They allowed local government to kind of control how the licenses went and how it was operated," he added.

In Arizona, Campbell said the initiative promised to cap taxes on the product so prices could stay affordable. It called for the Arizona Department of Health Services to regulate the industry, as they already had experience in regulating the medical marijuana industry. The initiative also promised to limit the amount people could grow for personal consumption.

"Some states did not really take the aggressive approach on that like we did," said Campbell.

James believed all of this was just putting gloss over what she called a "self-serving initiative" that was crafted by key players in the big marijuana industry.

"Really that is what it is. It is written by, funding by, and will benefit the big marijuana industry," added Campbell.

Advocates said to calm voter fears the initiative promised to put major restrictions on where people could smoke pot in Arizona.

"You will not be able to smoke this in public or open spaces. We banned it. We protected employee rights. It is something that was not done in the 2016 ballot.

Mayors and city council members and county supervisors can decide where, when, and how any operations could be set up in their local communities.

"Actually, in all 11 states that have recreational, that is where youth use is at its highest," said James.

Pro-pot advocates pointed toward studies that showed no significant increase in youth use of marijuana after it was legalized.

One study is listed here.

Those against legalizing pot point to their own studies that show otherwise. They also point to studies that show how Marijuana can impact the brain.

The link to the Mayo Clinic study is here.

The group is also citing concerns raised in an impact study done after legalization in Colorado. You can view that study here.

For more information from those advocating for the legalization of Marijuana go to

To read more about the concerns raised by those who are against it go to