Breaking Down Smart & Safe Arizona Arizona seems likely to legalize recreational cannabis in 2020.

Arizona is one of six states pushing recreational cannabis legalization ballot initiatives in 2020. It won’t be an easy road, but this year’s initiative, called Smart and Safe, seems to have widespread support from the industry and activists.

Ballot initiative I-23-2020, called Smart & Safe, is gathering signatures for a July 2, 2020 deadline for the 2020 Arizona election. With $1.4 million in funding for the signature gatherers and support from the Arizona Dispensary Association (ADA), Marijuana Industry Trade Association (MITA), the AZ chapters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), Arizona looks likely to finally legalize recreational cannabis use.

Of course, that’s not to say it’s without opposition. In fact, there are a total of two opposing grassroots ballot initiatives, a proposed referendum, and already a 2024 campaign in the works to try and tweak the 2020 law should it go through. one of these is a referendum proposed by the AZ Cannabis Chamber of Commerce hoping to gain a sponsor to back legislation overriding the vote to provide a different payment structure.

It gets wonky. In fact, I read the wrong ballot initiative in my first video on the topic because the issues was so muddled in the 2010s.

This was a problem back in 2016 too, when Proposition 205 was rejected by a narrow 52-48% margin during the election cycle. Safer Arizona failed in the 2018 midterm election to gather enough signatures for the ballot and is now supporting the proposed Smart & Safe Act for 2020.

Industry infighting is what ultimately destroyed the 2016 initiative, and the majority is in agreement today. Arizona’s cannabis community is much more mature today. Smart & Safe includes considerations for MMJ patients like me, existing medical dispensaries looking to convert into hybrid medical/recreational businesses, and activists like Safer Arizona.

I spoke with Moe Asnani from iLava and Tucson’s D2 and Downtown Dispensary about various aspects of the law. He’s a board member of the ADA who had a lot to say on the topic. Meanwhile, it turned out David Stephen Wisniewski from Safer Arizona and Phoenix cannabis attorney Tom Dean were live streaming on Facebook discussing the law. Check it out here.

Safer Arizona was a perspective I’ve been waiting to hear since the new law was announced, and they make their plan clear through 2024. If you haven’t watched Wisniewski’s livestream, I only included a condensed version touching on pretty much everything they discuss except taxes, which was the entire point of his video. I highly recommend watching it in its entirety on Facebook. I put that at the front of this video, along with an introduction from AZ Family.

Then the majority of this video is my abridged interview with Asnani.

He shares a lot of different perspectives on the current MMJ industry in Arizona. Whether you’re for or against cannabis, this is an informative video from two camps who haven’t been historically alligned. I’m glad I’m at the right place at the right time to cover the topic.

Some highlights of the proposed law:

  • Arizonans over 21 can own/grow/giveaway up to 6 cannabis plants.
  • Prices will be higher than medical because of higher taxes.
  • Existing businesses will have first dibs at dispensary licenses.
  • Previous cannabis convictions will be expunged. Overages in AZ Department of Health (DHS) MMJ fund will be distributed to help teachers, schools, highway safety, municipal services, and communities disproportionately affected by current laws.

Here are some resources to learn more:

  • AZ MMJ cards went digital Dec 1, 2019:
  • 20 Best Cannabis-Themed Movies Made Prior to 2020:
  • U.S. House of Representatives Passes SAFE Banking Act, allowing cannabis businesses to get bank accounts:
  • Check out my favorite herbal vape:
  • Check out my favorite concentrate vape:
  • 3 Great Arizona-Based Medical Marijuana Edibles I Buy Myself:
  • 10 Dank Cannabis Memes to Make You Laugh Like You’re Stoned:
  • The Growing Use Cases of Cannabis on the Blockchain:
  • 14 High-Yield Cannabis Strains for Home Growers:
  • 13 Easy Cannabis Strains for Beginners to Grow:
  • The 5 Best Marijuana Publications to Understand the Cannabis Industry



Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

One thought on “Breaking Down Smart & Safe Arizona

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