Arizona Measure Would Send Marijuana Legalization to Voters, Despite Federal Prohibition

By: Michael Boldin

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Feb. 7, 2019) – A resolution introduced in the Arizona Senate would send a measure to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes to voters on the next ballot.

Introduced by Sen. Juan Mendez (D-Tempe) and 13 Democrat cosponsors, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1022 (SCR1022) is a proposal to allow people 21 years of age or older to cultivate, possess, purchase, transport, transfer, use, and consume cannabis and cannabis products. Provisions in the measure would create a regulatory and taxation scheme for the commercial production and sale of marijuana similar to laws on the books in ten other states.

Should SCR1022 pass both chambers of the Arizona legislature, it will bypass Gov. Ducey, one of the state’s most aggressive cannabis-legalization opponents, and go directly to the voters for final approval.

Despite these efforts, the federal government still claims the power to deem marijuana illegal in Arizona, and everywhere else in the U.S.


Arizona voters legalized medical marijuana in 2010, passing Proposition 203 by a razor-thin margin. Legalization of recreational marijuana through SCR1022 would remove another layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but federal prohibition will remain on the books.

However, FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By ending most of the state’s prohibition, Arizona would sweep away a vast majority of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.

Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly annual budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution either. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.

With 33 states including allowing cannabis for medical or recreational use today, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition anymore.

The lesson here is pretty straightforward. When enough people say, “No!” to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats.


SCR1022 has been assigned to the Senate Finance Committee, where it will need to pass by a majority vote before moving forward. Supporters of the measure living in Arizona should contact committee chair, Sen. J.D. Mesnard and firmly, but politely encourage him to schedule a hearing and vote on SCR1022.  (email here and call 602-926-4481)