This November, Arizona voters will decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. One burning question for employers: How does this impact operations?
We consider some of the issues here.
Smart and Safe Arizona Act
Dubbed the “Smart and Safe Arizona Act,” Proposition 207 seeks to legalize the possession and use of marijuana for persons who are at least 21 years old under certain circumstances, enacts a tax on marijuana sales, and requires the state Department of Health and Human Services to develop rules to regulate marijuana businesses. If passed, Arizona would join California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska as states with legalized recreational marijuana. Montana, South Dakota, and New Jersey are also set to vote on the issue.
Prop 207 is not the first time Arizona voters have considered the issue. This initiative follows Prop 205 from 2016, which also sought to legalize the possession and use of marijuana for individuals aged 21 and above. Prop 205 was narrowly defeated by voters by approximately 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent, while at the same time similar initiatives were passed in California, Massachusetts, and Nevada. This led some pundits to conclude that a similar initiative on Arizona’s 2020 ballot may receive enough support to pass.
Does Proposition 207 propose to allow marijuana in the workplace?
The short answer is no. The proposed A.R.S. § 36-2851 of Chapter 28.2 expressly provides that the Chapter: (1) “[d]oes not restrict the rights of employers to maintain a drug-and-alcohol-free workplace or affect the ability of employers to have workplace policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees or prospective employees”; and (2) “[d]oes not require an employer to allow or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or cultivation of marijuana in a place of employment.”
In other words, passage of Prop 207 would