(PHOENIX) – The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce today announced its opposition to the passage of Arizona’s Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act initiative. The proposed measure would legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes by individuals who are 21 years of age or older.
The measure would:
- establish a 15 percent tax to be levied on retail marijuana sales, from which the revenue will be allocated to public health and education;
- allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess, privately consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana;
- create a system in which licensed businesses can produce and sell marijuana;
- establish a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation and sale of marijuana; and
- provide local governments with the authority to regulate and limit marijuana businesses.
“This measure would cause significant ambiguity for businesses to regulate a drug-free workplace,” said Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Public Affairs Mike Huckins. “In addition to the social-economic downside of marijuana legalization, this is not in the best interest of Valley businesses and Arizona as a whole.”
The prospect of employees under the influence of recreational marijuana use raises concerns for many employers, companies and industry sectors across the state. The passage of Arizona’s Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would create a multitude of workforce issues including productivity, absenteeism, employee and workplace safety, as well as significant liability if an accident occurs on the job. In addition, the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes would impact HR policies for all Arizona employers regarding drug use and would be detrimental for companies to maintain drug-free workplace policies.
“The passage of Arizona’s Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would impact the business community negatively,” said Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “This measure opens the door for employees across all industry sectors to potentially show up for work under the influence of marijuana, which does nothing towards creating a safer workforce, workplace and stronger business community.”
Sanders added, “Not only would this measure limit an employer’s ability to prevent employees from working while impaired by marijuana consumed outside the workplace, but it could expose employers to litigation for trying to impose workplace restrictions other than those specifically outlined in the measure.”
The legalization of recreational marijuana would create another hurdle to attracting new businesses to Arizona, since all business would now have a newly created conflict between their own drug-free workplace policies and state law.
Huckins concluded, “Although this measure establishes a tax on the sale of retail marijuana, sets licensing fees and earmarks excess monies to school districts, charter schools and public education campaigns, the social and economic costs far outweigh any monetary contributions received.”
Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Representing 2,400 businesses across Metropolitan Phoenix, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce is Arizona’s oldest and largest Chamber. The Chamber supports the growth and development of business by offering networking and marketing opportunities, money-saving programs and a voice in government, keeping its members informed, connected and prosperous. The Chamber also enhances members’ success by promoting economic development, entrepreneurship and a connection to the community.
Jill A. Brownley
O: 602.495.6472 | C: 602.509.4311