Arizona’s ballot measure to legalize marijuana passed Tuesday with voters deciding to join 11 other states that have done so despite a conflict with federal law, according to The Associated Press.
Proposition 207 would legalize possession of as much as an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older and set up a licensing system for retail sales of the drug, starting with the medical-marijuana dispensaries already operating in the state. Sales could begin in March under the measure.
Once the election results are made official Nov. 30, possession and growing as many as six plants at home will be legal for adults.
The measure also would allow people previously convicted of marijuana crimes, such as the felony charge for possession, to have their records expunged by the courts.
And it would establish special “social equity” licenses for communities historically disenfranchised by marijuana laws.
SEE THE WINNERS: Arizona election results
The Department of Health Services would be responsible for determining who is eligible to apply for those social equity licenses, and would also be responsible for developing rules for the program and reviewing applications from medical dispensaries.
The approximately 120 medical-marijuana dispensaries operating in the state today, which have provided nearly all of the funding for Proposition 207, would be allowed to sell the drug to anyone over 21, not just people who have a doctor’s recommendation and state-issued medical-marijuana card.
Dispensaries are anticipating a crush of new business. The Mint Dispensaries, for example, are prepared to expedite the construction of a new, $25 million, 100,000-square-foot growing operation in north Phoenix to keep their Guadalupe and Mesa retail sites stocked if Proposition 207 passes.
The Mint also already has approval from Mesa to expand its dispensary there as well, and can add additional registers in the Guadalupe store beyond the 21 in the store now, said Raúl Molina, a partner and senior vice president of operations.
“We think we’re ready for it,” Molina said before Election Day.
Company officials do not want to run out of marijuana for medical patients or be left with no supply for recreational customers, which has happened in other states that transitioned from medical to recreational sales.
A similar measure also passed in New Jersey on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, while recreational-marijuana initiatives were leading in early results in Montana and South Dakota as well.
Backers, opponents react to election
Attorney Adam Trenk, director of the Cannabis Department at the Rose Law Group, said nearly all medical dispensaries are expected to apply to sell recreational marijuana.
“I can’t imagine a world where they wouldn’t because they immediately expand the demographic of people who can walk into the store from just those with (medical-marijuana) cards to anyone over the age of 21,” Trenk said.
He also said his firm would help clients, including some through pro bono work, to expunge criminal records for marijuana-related crimes as allowed through the measure.
“We will, through community law centers, work to help those who qualify to get
By Peter Szekely and Sharon Bernstein
(Reuters) – Voters in New Jersey and Arizona legalized marijuana for recreational use on Tuesday, and in Oregon approved the country’s first therapeutic use for psilocybin, the hallucinogenic drug known as magic mushrooms.
The measures on drug use were among more than a hundred ballot questions put to voters on a range of topics including elections, abortion rights and taxes.
In all, at least 124 statutory and constitutional questions appeared on ballots this year in 32 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Among the highlights: Colorado voters defeated a measure that would have banned late-term abortions, Florida approved a hike in the minimum wage and California exempted rideshare and delivery drivers from a state law that would have made them employees of such companies as Lyft and Uber, rather than independent contractors.
Here are some of the key results of this year’s ballot measures based on projections from the NCSL and Edison Research:
Voters in New Jersey and Arizona approved measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The question was also on the ballot in Montana and South Dakota, which is also considering the drug’s use for medical purposes. Mississippi voters were also considering legalizing medical marijuana.
Since 1996, 33 other states and the District of Columbia have allowed medical marijuana, 11 had previously approved its recreational use and 16, including some medical marijuana states, have decriminalized simple possession, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
PSILOCYBIN, AKA MAGIC MUSHROOMSPsilocybin, a hallucinogen also known in its raw form as magic mushrooms, was approved by Oregon voters for therapeutic use for adults. Backers of the Psilocybin Services Act cited research showing benefits of the drug as a treatment for anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions. The measure will set a schedule to further consider the matter and create a regulatory structure for it.
In a related measure, Washington, D.C., voters approved Initiative 81, which directs police to rank “entheogenic plants and fungi,” including psilocybin and mescaline, among its lowest enforcement priorities.
Voters in Florida approved a measure to amend the state constitution to gradually increase its $8.56 per hour minimum wage to $15 by Sept. 30, 2026.
CALIFORNIA GIG WORKERS
California voters approved a measure that would exempt ride-share and delivery drivers from a state law that makes them employees, not contractors, according to Edison Research. The measure, Proposition 22, is the first gig-economy question to go before statewide voters in a campaign. Backers, including Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc, spent more than $190 million on their campaign, making the year’s costliest ballot measure, according to Ballotpedia.
Colorado voters rejected a measure to ban late-term abortions.
(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
Exceptional Community Hospital Celebrates Groundbreaking for Maricopa Facility;
Additional Community Hospitals Already Planned for Yuma, Prescott, Other Communities
A Texas-based hospital group is making a strong entry into the Arizona marketplace, with a critically needed community hospital coming to Maricopa and other hospitals opening across Arizona in the near future.
Exceptional Healthcare is entering Arizona with its first facility in the City of Maricopa, in the Phoenix metro region. The 20,000-square-foot Phase 1 of the facility will be located in the heart of Maricopa on State Route 347, and will be the first facility of its kind in the community.
The state-of-the-art facility includes a specialty internal medicine hospital, a 24-hour emergency department, a digital imaging suite – including CT Scan, X-Ray, mobile MRI and ultrasound – an in-house laboratory, and outpatient and inpatient hospital beds for acute admissions and overnight observation of patients.
Additionally, in partnership with higher-level hospitals in the Phoenix area, Exceptional Healthcare will feature a landing area for air ambulances to ensure the fastest transfer of patients needing a higher level of care.
Exceptional Healthcare is already planning for additional facilities in Prescott and Yuma as well as locations in as many as six other communities throughout the state.
“We are very excited to be entering the Arizona marketplace and particularly the City of Maricopa with our first Exceptional Healthcare hospital in the state,” said Saeed Mahboubi, Chief Financial Officer for Exceptional Healthcare. “Arizona is facing a shortage of healthcare facilities and professionals, particularly in rural areas and smaller communities in the state. These new hospitals will fill a critical need and help strengthen the state’s overall healthcare infrastructure.”
Two socially distanced, invitation-only groundbreaking events will take place on Friday, November 13 at the Maricopa site. Members of the media are invited to attend either the 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. events. Media members who would like to attend should contact Tom Evans at the information above.
Neighborhood community hospitals are important because they offer residents of communities without large healthcare resources an alternative to driving long distances — often at times of medical emergency when seconds count. It also provides patients with the ability to stay closer to home for less significant internal medicine-related admissions, allowing patients to be closer to their families and loved ones.
At the Exceptional Healthcare facilities, each inpatient room will have accommodations for a family member to stay the night, as well as high-level concierge-style service. Plans include chef-prepared individualized meal service as well as complimentary toiletries, bath robe, and slippers for patients to increase their level of comfort.
As Maricopa continues to grow, the need for immediate lifesaving care is critical, and the ability for residents to be admitted to a hospital for basic inpatient care without having to leave Maricopa is a plus. The $18 million facility in Maricopa is expected to employ between 60-100 employees, and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2021.
Christian Price, Mayor of the City of Maricopa, welcomed
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday warned that a “storm is ahead” as coronavirus cases climb in the state, but defended new guidelines for in-person school instruction that will let students remain in class far beyond what earlier guidance would have recommended.
The Republican governor insisted that his administration consulted with public education and health officials before making the decision to ease guidance for when schools should consider ending in-person instruction and returning to online classes.… Read More
A Texas woman died of COVID-19 while on board a plane from Arizona to Texas, officials said Sunday.
The woman, in her 30s, had difficulty breathing before the plane took off on July 25, according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.Read More
A Texas woman in her 30s died of Covid-19 while flying home from Arizona this summer, officials said Monday.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth that the woman died in July, but that officials just learned of her official cause of death.
“It became difficult for her to breathe, and they tried to give her oxygen,” he told the station. “It was not successful. She died on the jetway.”
The woman, who was from the Dallas suburb of Garland, had underlying health conditions, according to a Dallas County news release. Additional information about her was not immediately available.
The disclosure comes as case counts continued to rise in 25 states, according to a 14-day average maintained by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The data showed that new cases jumped in Texas last week after a dip the week before.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has continued relaxing coronavirus restrictions, with an executive order earlier this month allowing some bars to reopen at half capacity.
Jenkins criticized the move Monday, saying it can make people believe it’s safe to have friends over.
“We keep jumping the gun, and it puts us back in a situation which hurts public health and businesses and schools,” he told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
Experts have warned of a possible “third peak” of coronavirus cases as the holidays approach with what Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious diseases expert at the Emory University School of Medicine, described as six possible superspreader events.
“We can see a lot of disease happening,” he said.
ARIZONA — Arizona is among U.S. states with the lowest rates of childhood obesity, says a new study released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
According to this year’s State of Childhood Obesity report, about 1 in 7 children nationwide are considered obese — or about 15.5 percent.
At 38th in the nation, our state falls lower than the U.S. average. This year’s report says roughly 12.1 percent of Arizona children ages 10 to 17 are considered obese.
“Childhood obesity remains an epidemic in this country,” Jamie Bussel, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a release. “We must confront these current crises in ways that also support long-term health and equity for all children and families in the United States.”
The focus of this year’s report, according to a release by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is prioritizing childhood health amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In the study, researchers say the pandemic and ongoing economic recession have worsened many of the broader factors that contribute to obesity, including poverty and health disparities.
Emerging research links obesity with increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including among children. Evidence from other vaccines also has led some experts to predict that a COVID-19 vaccine may be less effective in those with underlying medical conditions such as obesity.
The pandemic also exacerbates conditions that put children at risk for obesity.
School closures have left millions of children without a regular source of healthy meals or physical activity. In addition, millions of caregivers have lost income or jobs, making it more difficult for families to access or afford healthy foods.
To determine the most recent childhood obesity rates, the foundation used data from the 2018-19 National Survey of Children’s Health, along with information collected through a separate analysis conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
The report also highlights the obesity rates in younger children, high school students and adults. Here’s a look at how Arizona rates:
Children ages 2 to 4 (participating in WIC — the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program): 12.1 percent, or 41 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.
High school students: 13.3 percent, or 35 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Adults: 31.4 percent, or 31 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Adults with diabetes: 10.9 percent, or 21 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Adults with hypertension: 32.5 percent, or 21 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Here are a couple findings of note from this year’s report:
Childhood obesity is more prevalent in children of color: About 11.7 percent of white children are considered obese. Rates are significantly higher for Hispanic (20.7 percent), Black (22.9 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native (28.5 percent), and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander (39.8 percent) children.
Income also affects the prevalence of obesity: About 21.5 percent of youths in households making less than the federal poverty level were considered obese, more than double the 8.8 percent