Prop. 203 Decriminalizes Marijuana

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Proposition 203 on the Nov. 5 general election ballot is referred to as the medical marijuana proposition.

According to State of Arizona's publication on the ballot propositions:

A "yes" vote would decriminalize marijuana for personal use; however possession of 2 ounces is subject to a $250 civil fine; require the Department of Public Safety to distribute free marijuana to people with written documentation from a doctor; increase the maximum penalty for violent crimes committed under the influence of drugs; eliminate mandatory minimum sentences; restrict the seizure of assets for drug crimes; and require parole for persons convicted of drug possession, unless they're a danger to the public

A "no" vote would retain existing criminal penalties for possession of marijuana and other controlled substances.

The proposition is being promoted by the group "The People Have Spoken" which claims it clarifies and reinforces previous initiatives to legalize marijuana for medical purposes and making it available by prescription.

The ballot measure, however, does not require an actual prescription, just written documentation from a physician.

The group opposing 203 is called Battleground Arizona. It has offered arguments on the medical benefits of marijuana. The group's experts have said it does contain a substance that has some medical benefit, but there is also a risk of other health problems: lung cancer and bronchitis. Other opponents point to the argument that use of marijuana leads to the use of other illegal drugs.

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