The Town of Gilbert's City Council has decided to pass a new ordinance if voters approve Proposition 207 in November.
If Proposition 207 passes, adults 21 and older will be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use in Arizona.
The Gilbert ordinance, discussed in a City Council meeting, Oct. 13, would ban the use of marijuana in public spaces.
The ordinance would make selling, producing, or using the substance in town-owned and operated property illegal and prohibit businesses such as testing facilities or stores from locating in the town.
One exception to the ordinance will be the only medical dispensary in Gilbert, Curleaf, due to the business already being established.
According to the ballot, the Arizona Department of Health Services will be responsible for creating guidelines for marijuana use in Arizona. A 16 percent tax will be put on marijuana sales if Proposition 207 is approved as well.
This tax would allow the state to collect money for various finances. Tax money will go towards fire departments, community college districts, a new justice reinvestment, Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund, and law enforcement agencies, according to Arizona Proposition 207, Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2020).
Avery Hayden, a 23-year-old Gilbert resident plans to vote yes for passing Proposition 207 in Arizona.
"I'd vote yes on it. I don't think that marijuana is a drug that should be illegal. I think that it's safe for people to use, who are of age, and know how to use it properly," Hayden said.
If education is available on how to use marijuana, there would be a larger chance that people will use it properly, says Hayden.
According to Gilbert City Council members, the great concern regarding the use of recreational marijuana is money waste, effects on family life, and road safety.
Many safety concerns of marijuana are similar to those related to alcohol consumption is road safety, Hayden says.
"I think that if people are concerned about people driving under the influence of marijuana they should first deal with the issue of people driving under the influence of alcohol," Hayden said.
According to the State of Arizona Highway Safety Annual Report, alcohol and drug-related deaths are a leading cause of death on roads and highways in Arizona. In 2018 there were a total of 27,652 DUI arrests in Arizona.
In Gilbert, $54,638.22 was spent on law enforcement officers working overtime to watch for impaired drivers in 2018, but no funds were supplied for other projects and funding related to decreasing impaired driving such as Impaired Driving Equipment and Supplies, Impaired Driving Training, Impaired Driving Awareness, Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor or GOHS Program Administration according to data collected by the State of Arizona Highway Safety Annual Report.
Lisa James, the Chair of the Arizonans for Health and Public Safety Committee also known as the "no" on the Proposition 207 campaign states that Proposition 207 will not benefit taxpayers of Arizona.
"This was written by, funded by and will benefit the big marijuana industry and not the taxpayers of Arizona," said James.
Legalizing recreational marijuana will be damaging to children, the economy and road safety say James.
According to James, states who have legalized recreational marijuana have seen an increase of impaired drivers on the road, decreasing road safety.
"The states that have legalized we know for a fact from studies that states that have legalized recreational have more impaired drivers on the road."
Data from the Arizonans for health and Public Safety website statistical page states that traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled in Colorado after the state passed a similar initiative.
Although it is still unknown if Proposition 207 will pass in Arizona, Hayden reports that she is not surprised by the new ordinance that will be accepted in Gilbert if Proposition 207 is approved.
"I think Gilbert has a lot of young families and kids in the area. I don't think it's very popular with Gilbert citizens," Hayden said.
According to Hayden, people should use marijuana similarly to how they would use alcohol, privately in their own homes. "I think smoking is kind of taboo out on the streets anyways. And Like alcohol you can't openly drink on the streets," Hayden said.
The main impact Proposition 207 would have on Arizona is the lack of ability citizens would have to change the laws once it passes due to voter protection, also known as Proposition 105, says James.
"In Arizona, we have something called voter protection. And that means that should Prop. 207 pass we are locked into it whether or not there are intended or unintended consequences."
People need to "really study what they are voting for because they will be locked into it for the foreseeable future," James said.
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