Cannabis in Arizona

2016 Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo in Phoenix

Cannabis in Arizona is legal for medical uses, but prohibited for recreational use.

Medical marijuana[edit]

Proposition 200 (1996)[edit]

in 1996, 65% of Arizona voters approved Proposition 200, a drug policy reform initiative containing a provision allowing the use of cannabis with a doctor's prescription.[1] The medical cannabis portion of the initiative was then essentially repealed by state legislators a few months later,[2] but the change was rejected by voters in a 1998 veto referendum (Proposition 300).[3] Ultimately the medical cannabis provision was ineffective, however, due to language that created significant conflict with federal law (use of the word "prescribe" instead of "recommend").[4]

Proposition 203 (2002)[edit]

Proposition 203 in 2002 to legalize the medical use of cannabis failed with 42.7% of the vote.[5]

Proposition 203 (2010)[edit]

Proposition 203 in 2010 to legalize the medical use of cannabis passed with 50.1% of the vote.[6] In 2012, the Arizona legislature passed a law that sought to forbid the access to medical cannabis on college campuses. However, in May 2018, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that this restriction was unconstitutional.[7]

Recreational cannabis[edit]

Proposition 205 (2016)[edit]

Proposition 205 in 2016 to legalize the recreational use of cannabis failed with 48.7% of the vote[8][9]

Among the largest contributors to defeat of the initiative (Proposition 205) were Discount Tire ($1 million), Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry ($918,000), Sheldon Adelson ($500,000), and Insys Therapeutics ($500,000).[10]



Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is a leading opponent to cannabis reform efforts in the state of Arizona. He has made a number of controversial comments on the subject, including telling a military veteran who spoke in support of cannabis legalization "I have no respect for you... because you’re an enemy".[11] Montgomery has also engaged in a multi-year legal battle seeking to overturn the state's medical marijuana law that was approved by voters in 2010.[12]


  1. ^ "Drug Reform Measure Signed Into Law In Arizona". NORML. December 9, 1996. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  2. ^ "Arizona Bill Delays Medical Marijuana Use". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. April 16, 1997. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  3. ^ Spivack, Sarah (November 12, 1998). "Doctors leery to prescribe marijuana as medication". Arizona Daily Wildcat. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  4. ^ State-By-State Medical Marijuana Laws, Marijuana Policy Project, December 2016
  5. ^ "Arizona Marijuana Legalization, Proposition 203 (2002)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "Arizona Medical Marijuana Question, Proposition 203 (2010)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  7. ^ "Arizona: Supreme Court Affirms That Lawmakers Cannot Ban Medical Cannabis Access on College Campuses - NORML - Working to Reform Marijuana Laws". Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  8. ^ "Arizona Marijuana Legalization, Proposition 205 (2016)", Ballotpedia
  9. ^ "Arizona Proposition 205 — Legalize Marijuana — Results: Rejected". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-11-09.
  10. ^ Stern, Ray (November 3, 2016). "Here Are the Prohibitionists Who've Donated $10,000 or More to Keep Marijuana a Felony in Arizona". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  11. ^ Pishko, Jessica (November 7, 2016). "This Arizona Prosecutor Is Waging a Strange War on Weed—and That's Just the Beginning". The Nation. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  12. ^ Stern, Ray (December 22, 2016). "County Attorney Bill Montgomery Continues His Failing Crusade Against Arizona's Medical Marijuana Law". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved June 4, 2017.

External links[edit]