Voters still await the final outcome of a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Arizona.
Proposition 203 trailed by less than 1 percent of the vote, with thousands of provisional ballots uncounted.
A majority of voters in all but three of Arizona’s 15 counties had voted against the proposition. Coconino, Santa Cruz and Pima counties voted in favor of the initiative.
“People support the idea of medical marijuana, they were reacting to issues raised by the opponents,” said Andrews Myers, spokesman for Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project.
Myers said opponents raised fears in the minds of many voters by making comparisons to California, where medical marijuana has been legal for more than a decade.
Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall was one of the vocal opponents of Prop 203, engaging in a public campaign for its defeat. LaWall also co-authored a statement in opposition to Prop 203, with co-signers including the county attorneys from Apache, Cochise, Gila, La Paz, Navajo, Yavapai, and Yuma counties. Several Arizona sheriffs also signed the opposition letter.
Still, nearly 165,000 voters in Pima County supported the medical marijuana initiative at the polls. About 125,500 voted against the measure in Pima.
Counting continues, and the initiative could make gains when the remaining ballots are tallied.
“It’s an encouraging sign,” Meyers said.
If passed, the proposition would allow patients suffering with specific medical conditions to purchase and use marijuana. The initiative also would set up a regulated network of medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation operations.
In the run up to the election, government leaders in Pima County, Marana and Oro Valley passed zoning and other rules to limit the areas where medical marijuana-themed business could operate.
Yes 786,561 votes
No 790,050 votes
Count as of Monday night, secretary of state’s office