Why Prop 207 Is Losing Support

Voters learned Prop 207 does far more than decriminalize recreational marijuana

The marijuana sellers who wrote Prop 207 had the marketing all figured out. This time, they would give the ballot proposition a respectable sounding name, tweak a couple of details without really limiting their potential market, and spread the word that this recreational marijuana proposition was “Smart and Safe.”

Polling indicated their ploy was working. Polls consistently showed Arizona voters would likely support such a measure. Then, the details began to emerge. Voters learned Prop 207 does far more than decriminalize recreational marijuana. The 17-pages of changes to Arizona laws would affect drivers, teens, kids, employees and employers, landlords, HOAs, neighborhoods and more. Suddenly, this is no longer about just smoking weed and minding your own business.

The latest polling shows a significant drop in support for Prop 207. One poll shows support at just one-percentage point above opposition, at 46% and 45% respectively. Another poll puts likely voter support at just 47%.

The marijuana industry wrote a self-serving proposition that puts kids and teens in harms way by allowing THC-laced candies, gummies, cookies, and other snacks. Then, gave themselves the ability to market those items on all platforms that teens frequent, including social media.

They put a deceptive limit on candies and snacks that appeal to kids, while still packing a full ten servings in one candy bar. Other forms have no limit at all. For example, concentrates used in vape pens can contain up to 100% THC.

Prop 207 legalizes recreational marijuana for adults only. Every state that legalized it, did so for adults only, and still, a lot more teens use it.

We know what marijuana use can do to a teen’s brain. It inhibits brain development , causing permanent IQ loss, and it hinders learning, attention, and emotional responses. It can lead to long-term dependence, especially if they use the high potency marijuana concentrates, like that in vape pens.

Perhaps much of the decline in support for Prop 207 comes from the clear increased danger on the roads. The proposition eliminates current law prohibiting driving with impairing THC in one’s system. Without replacing that standard with any other clear line of impairment, it’s left to police and courts to hash out. Prop 207 makes using marijuana a statutory right, making it more difficult to prosecute marijuana impaired drivers.

The proposition also doesn’t address the immediate risk to others on the road, because there is still no reliable roadside test for marijuana impairment like there is for alcohol. Breathalyzer tests can gauge alcohol levels and quickly determine if the driver reaches the clear standard of impairment set by state officials. Police can then remove the drunk driver from the road before someone gets killed. That level of precaution is alarmingly missing from Prop 207.

States that passed similar initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana experienced a significant increase in marijuana related fatal crashes. In Colorado, the number doubled. That isn’t surprising when nearly 70% of marijuana users there admit to driving stoned, and almost a third, daily.

Prop 207 protects the marijuana industry, while setting up other employers for costly lawsuits, high turnover, and dangerous working conditions. Under the proposition, employers cannot take adverse action against employees because they exercise their right to use marijuana. And, although they can prohibit marijuana use at work, there is nothing stopping employees from using off-site, and then going to work at a daycare, elderly care facility, or worksite.

The measure also ties the hands of landlords and HOAs, rendering them powerless against the new right to grow and use marijuana. There is no recourse for a homeowner or renter when a next-door neighbor grows as many as twelve 12-foot tall marijuana plants. There is no recourse when a bag of high potency marijuana is delivered to the porch next-door as your children play outside.

Under the guise of economic benefit to the state, marijuana sellers whet the appetites of many underfunded programs. But, Prop 207 caps the tax at 16%, regardless of the cost to the state, meaning it will not pay for itself, much less make the state money. Colorado pays $4.50 for every one dollar in marijuana revenue.

Prop 207 is not a moneymaker. It allocates no funds to k-12 education. It would bring more danger to our roads, harm to our kids, cost and headache to our employers, and Arizona’s Voter Protection Act would prevent lawmakers from fixing any problems that arise. As voters learn all this, it is no surprise Prop 207 is sinking in the polls.

About Lisa James, Chair, Arizonans for Health and Public Safety 1 Article
Lisa James is the Chair of Arizonans for Health and Public Safety