Colorado legalized marijuana in 2014. Since that time, they generated over $1 billion in total state revenue. According to the EASI Total Crime Index, between 2011 and 2019 reflects a 20% reduction (133 to 108). Not only did legalizing marijuana increase state revenues, it also decreased spending on crime.
Two points to think about:
- The estimated population in Colorado for 2019 — 5.77 million vs. Arizona — 7.28 million (1.51 million more people live in Arizona).
- Arizona public schools are significantly underfunded leaving this economic opportunity as one to increase school funding.
The influx of roughly $300 million per year in additional state revenue will offer profound opportunities. Not only can we increase public school funding, but also access to mental health services for all Arizonans. Both are important issues and affect everyone in one way or another here in Arizona.
Cannabis Industry Research Monopoly
For starters, research into the marijuana industry should not be restricted to just one university. Arizona has some of the top-institutions in the world yet the University of Mississippi continues to be the only place where marijuana research happens. As your next State Senator, I will change this. We have the best and brightest educators, professors and students that can and will make groundbreaking discoveries if we allow them to.
The ballot initiative included some language that offers a troubling sign of who can obtain a recreational sales licenses. Sure they increased it from 130 to 160, but we should be very careful to ensure there is not a concentration of one company or individual that dominate this market. As your next State Senator, I will address this social inequality and put forth legislation that allows for an open market opportunity and bans the ownership of more than two marijuana dispensary locations by one person or entity.
Criminal Conviction Record Expunge Fast-Track
For people convicted of possessing less than an once of marijuana, beginning in July 2021 they can have their convictions overturned and record expunged. Ryan will put forth legislation that fast-tracks this process, dedicates resources to focus on identifying expunging convictions and offer relief as quickly as possible. A drug conviction affects the lives of so many people in Arizona and we have an obligation fix this.
We do have our work cut out for us when it comes to marijuana legalization. There are both challenges and opportunities. As your next State Senator, I will make sure everyone benefits from the opportunities. This is why I am supporting the marijuana initiative, the economics are good for Arizona.