Arizona adults will be allowed to legally smoke, eat or drink marijuana starting early next month, when Tuesday’s election results are certified.
But it’ll be another month before they can buy marijuana legally from a state-licensed outlet.
Proposition 207 to legalize recreational marijuana in the state ran strong all evening on Tuesday, maintaining a steady level of support at about 60% of ballots counted. There are no indications that later-counted votes will be able to disturb that margin.
Arizonans were supporting Proposition 207 by a margin of close to 3 to 2 in incomplete vote tallies.
Proponents, financed by existing medical marijuana dispensaries, far outspent foes, listing nearly $5 million in expenditures as of two weeks before the election. By contrast, opponents had spent just $531,000 by that point.
The initiative is designed to be the next step in the 2010 law allowing Arizonans with certain medical conditions to obtain up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from state-licensed dispensaries.
This new version permits adults to have up to an ounce without facing criminal charges.
Other provisions range from a new tax on recreational marijuana that proponents say could raise $300 million a year, to a process for wiping out criminal records of those who were previously convicted of what would no longer be a crime.
Foes focused on what they said are shortcomings in the measure, including the lack of a standard of what constitutes driving while impaired by marijuana and questions about whether forms of edible candies would be attractive to children.
Arizona will join 10 other states and the District of Columbia that permit adults to use the drug without a medical need, including California, Nevada and Colorado. Several other states have decriminalized possession of the drug but its use is not fully legal.