House to hear bill to decriminalize marijuana

House republican John Fillmore from Apache Junction has introduced several bills covering the use of marijuana and protecting medical marijuana dispensaries.

House Bill 2044 would reduce the possession of one-ounce or less to a petty offense. The bill passed through the Judicial and Rules committee and had its second read on January 10.

The bill would change Subsection B of 13-3405 to add a Paragraph 1 to read, “Subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section involving an amount of marijuana not possessed for sale having a weight of one ounce or less is guilty of a petty offense and, notwithstanding section 13‑802, the person shall pay a fine of not more than four hundred dollars.”

13-802 provides, “A sentence to pay a fine for a petty offense shall be a sentence to pay an amount, fixed by the court, of not more than three hundred dollars.” The change would allow a fine up to one hundred dollars more.

The bill does not make the use of marijuana legal for recreational purposes.

H.B. 2692 would make it tougher to obtain a certificate for a medicinal marijuana dispensary.

The fact sheet read, “Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 36-2804 prohibits any principal officers or board members from being issued a registration certificate for a nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary if they have been convicted of an excluded felony offense, have served as a member of a previous dispensary that has had its registration certification revoked and none of the people are under the age of 21. ADHA [Arizona Department of Health Services] may conduct a criminal records check to ensure these requirements are met.”

Additional requirements would be none of the principal officers or board members has ever filed personal or corporate bankruptcy. The principal officers and board members have submitted Arizona personal income tax for the previous three years. The principal officers and board members have been Arizona residents for at least three years. The principal officers and board members are current on court-ordered child support, are not delinquent in paying taxes, interest or penalties to the government, do not have any unpaid judgments to the government and are not in default on government-issued student loans.

ADHS would be required to accept dispensary registration certificate applications for 30 calendar days beginning June 1, 2012.

Representative Fillmore also introduced H.B. 2210 which would protect certified dispensaries from over burdening municipal taxation.

This bill would not allow taxation of more than 10% of sales or gross income. This would apply even if the municipality has adopted the Model City Tax Code of Title 42, Chapter 6, Article 2.