Arizona Pot

In 2016, 8 of 9 states that had citizen initiatives for either medical or recreational marijuana passed them, but the initiative in Arizona to enact fully legal cannabis failed by a small margin. Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a professional opponent of all things cannabis, took on the state and won.

He was greatly aided by a $500,000 contribution from John Kapoor, founder of Insys Pharmaceuticals of Chandler, AZ, and noted for their aggressive production of fentanyl, the opioid variant. Kapoor must have felt he had a horse in the race.

Yesterday Kapoor made bail for federal charges of pushing fentanyl at ridiculous levels, money laundering, conspiracy, etc.

When that election was held, Arizona had 115,00 medical marijuana cards issued to registered “patients”. Not even a year later the count is now 149,000 and growing rapidly. The fees collected for state registration have reached 25 million dollars a year, far above the 11 million estimated to cover the costs of the program. New stores are blossoming in the Phoenix area, though there is a state-wide limit on them.

When full-blown legalization is rejected by the voters, the current unregulated, untaxed, yet completely legal black market continues to thrive. Meanwhile, the existing medical program is pushed to it’s limits by loopholes as customers flock to it. Either way, the industry grows fast with or without state oversight.

Arizonans will get another shot a year from now to fully legalize, and it’s assumed it will pass. Kapoor will be in custody, and his money will be locked up in the courts. Sabet will no doubt give it the ol’ college try, but his talking points are wearing out as more states come online and his worst fears are shown to be unfounded. California will be having problems, and he’ll gladly play on those, but most voters will see those as normal.

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