Republican Representative, Ethan Orr, of district 9 in Arizona wants to lead his fellow lawmakers in a discussion about drafting legislation to legalize marijuana for adult use in the state of Arizona. He aims to legalize cannabis for retail sales in the state before the primary election in 2016.
Why does he aim to do this before the voters are able to support a measure in 2016?
If marijuana is legalized by a voter initiative, it is difficult for the lawmakers to edit the law. Any changes to law passed by voter majority requires a two-third approval vote by legislators.
Representative Orr wrote a post on his Facebook page this morning with this explanation:
“My major point is that there is currently an initiative being discussed to place this issue on the 2016 ballot that is polling at 58%. Anything that is passed by initiative is almost impossible to change and would eliminate our ability to govern and make changes to the law.”
So far, his suggestion about the idea of proposing legislation discussions to end marijuana prohibition is not being received well by other republicans in his state. He also responds to this in his Facebook post this morning:
“I am not advocating anything except a sincere and rational discussion about an issue that needs to be discussed openly and with sincerity. As leaders we need to lead and that includes having difficult and complex conversations, we can not govern by soundbites.”
Orr told In the same Facebook post he addresses that legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana sales for adults will help to recuperate some of the Arizona state debt,
“The state is also facing a large deficit and we need to put all of all options on the table, this option may not make it through the legislative process, and I am fine with that, I am simply saying that we should have a conversation with all of Arizona, including police and prosecutors, about the pro’s and con’s of the policy in a respectful coherent manner.”
Representative Orr is also quoted as saying that he would propose the taxes earned from legal marijuana sales go to education and law enforcement, so it will be very interesting to see how long it takes others to agree to discussing the idea.
Orr’s proposal may just be the answer to budget deficit in the state of Arizona, and it would be a step towards legitimizing the cannabis industry in Arizona.
photo credit: Facebook.com/ethan.orr.3, Refracted Moments™