PHOENIX (AP) — Authorized sales of leisure cannabis in Arizona commenced Friday beneath licenses accredited by the point out Well being Products and services Division.

The health division declared it had issued 73 licenses in nine of the state’s 15 counties under provisions of the cannabis legalization evaluate passed by voters in November. Most went to present health-related marijuana dispensaries that can commence selling recreational pot right absent.

“It’s an thrilling step for individuals that want to participate in that system,” Health and fitness Solutions Director Dr. Cara Christ reported Friday.

Beneath the terms of Proposition 207, individuals 21 and older can lawfully possess up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or a smaller quantity of “concentrates” this sort of as cannabis and can mature their very own vegetation. Possession of concerning 1 ounce and 2.5 ounces (70 grams) is a petty offense carrying a most $300 wonderful.

Acceptance of the marijuana evaluate arrived 4 years following Arizona voters narrowly defeated a recreational pot legalization proposal. Medical cannabis has been legal in Arizona considering the fact that 2010.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and GOP leaders of the state Legislature strongly opposed the voter initiative, but 60% of the state’s voters permitted it.

The evaluate was backed by advocates for the lawful cannabis field and felony justice reform advocates who argued that Arizona’s harsh cannabis legislation have been out of stage with the country. Arizona was the only state that however allowed a felony charge for very first-time possession of compact quantities of marijuana, despite the fact that most instances were being prosecuted as lower-stage misdemeanors.

The huge bulk of the licenses were being issued in Maricopa County. Other counties with dispensaries now permitted to sell marijuana are Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Pima, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma counties.

The state stated six extra programs it obtained following its new licensing method opened are still being reviewed.

Voters in New Jersey, South Dakota and Montana also accredited earning possession of recreational marijuana authorized past November, signing up for 11 other states in which it was currently authorized.

Arizona prosecutors dropped countless numbers of cannabis possession instances immediately after the evaluate was authorized. Possession in the point out technically became legal when the election success were being accredited on Nov. 30 but there was no lawful way to buy cannabis.

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