PHOENIX, Ari. (Feb. 8, 2017) – An Arizona House committee killed a bill to legalize home cultivation of medical marijuana by medical marijuana card holders.
Rep. Vince Leach (R) and Rep. Paul Boyer (R) introduced House Bill 2018 (HB2018). The legislation would have expanded medical marijuana laws already on the books to permit home cultivation of the crop. Passage would have allowed qualifying patients to grow medical marijuana in “a closet, room, greenhouse or other enclosed, roofed area that has a hardened covering and that is equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a cardholder.”
HB2018 was killed in the House Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee on Jan. 23 by a 4-5 vote. Rep. Noel Campbell (R), Rep. Mark Finchem (R), Rep. Anthony Kern (R) and Rep. Jay Lawrence (R) voted affirmatively on HB2018 while Rep. Richard Andrade (D), Rep. Eric Descheenie (D), Rep. Diego Espinoza (D), Rep. Travis Grantham (R) and Rep. Ray Martinez (D) voted to kill the bill.
Although this legislation failed, Arizona still has an opportunity to achieve serious marijuana reform this year. House Bill 2003 (HB2003) was introduced by Rep. Mark Cardenas (D-Louisville) to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to five plants without criminal penalties. The bill is still active at the present time.
Legalization of marijuana in Arizona would remove a huge layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but federal prohibition will remain on the books.
FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By effectively ending state prohibition, Arizona could essentially sweep away most of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.
Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly-budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.
A GROWING MOVEMENT
Arizona still has the opportunity this year to join a growing number of states that are simply ignoring federal prohibition and nullifying it in practice. Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska have already legalized recreational cannabis, with California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts set to join them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization were passed in those states in November.
With more than two-dozen states allowing cannabis for medical use as well, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition any more.
“The lesson here is pretty straight forward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.
Tenth Amendment Center
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. For more information visit the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.