Arizona voters approve recreational marijuana

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Arizona was one of four states on Election Day to pass a ballot issue allowing recreational marijuana.

Two states approved medical marijuana.

In Arizona, Proposition 207 has passed by a 60%-40% margin, according to unofficial results. It allows for the use and possession of a small amount of marijuana by residents over the age of 21. It also allows the regulated possession of a limited number of marijuana plants.

It levies a 16% excise tax on the sale of marijuana.

About 57% of Pinal County voters approved the proposition. It carried all precincts in the city of Maricopa.

Proponents of Prop 207 declared the so-called “war on drugs” had failed and the measure was necessary for effective regulation of a drug already in wide use.

The proposition will “dedicate millions annually to state and local health departments for addiction prevention and treatment, suicide prevention, mental health programs and justice reinvestment projects that create opportunities in disproportionately impacted communities,” stated Chad Campbell, chairman of Smart and Safe Arizona, which wrote Prop 207.

Opponents said it would put dangerous drivers, high on pot, on the road, cause workplace issues for employers and be a stronger temptation for teens.

New Jersey and Montana passed similar measures Tuesday. The Montana measure, passing by a wide margin in the early vote count, imposes a tax of 20%. In New Jersey, the measure passed easily, though it relies on the state Legislature to create laws regarding limitations on retail and home cultivation.

South Dakota, meanwhile, has a measure and an amendment on the ballot. The measure, earning overwhelming approval, asked voters to legalize medical marijuana. The constitutional amendment allowing recreational marijuana, however, is in a much tighter battle. It also requires state legislation for regulation.

Mississippi also asked voters to approve medical marijuana. That was passing by a nearly 36-point margin.

Tuesday’s results, if they hold true, will bring the total of states allowing recreational marijuana use to 15. States that allow medical marijuana now number 35.

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