Susan Sarandon Lends Her Voice to Arizona Marijuana Legalization Effort

By Paul Gaita 11/02/16

Arizona's Proposition 205 would allow adults to possess up to an ounce of recreational marijuana in a non-public setting.

Susan Sarandon Lends Her Voice to Arizona Marijuana Legalization Effort

Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon is voicing her support for marijuana legalization—quite literally—by recording a phone message urging Arizona voters to vote in favor of Proposition 205 on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The measure would allow adults to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana for adult recreational use in a non-public setting, and includes provisions for a regulatory and tax system. 

In the message, Sarandon asks voters—whether they're for, against, or undecided on the measure—to view Prop 205 as a means of supporting law enforcement efforts: “Whether someone uses marijuana or not, we probably all prefer for law enforcement to spend their time preventing and investigating serious crimes rather than marijuana offenses.”

She also states that regulation of a marijuana industry in Arizona will not only “take [pot] out of the hands of criminals,” but also provide job opportunities and tax revenue for residents.

Sarandon’s message is the second statement from a celebrity figure in support of the Arizona measure. Earlier in the year, former Chicago Bears quarterback and Arizona resident Jim McMahon filmed a television spot for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), in which he addressed his own use of medical marijuana and support for Prop 205.

CRMLA chairman J.P. Holyoak praised Sarandon’s phone message, stating, “She has been an outspoken advocate for social justice and sensible criminal justice reform, and we are proud to have her support. Like most Arizonans, she does not think adults should be slapped with felonies simply for consuming a substance that is less harmful than alcohol.”

About 50% of Arizona voters are in favor of Prop 205, though the number of those opposed to the measure rose from 40% to 42% as of mid-October, while undecided voters dropped from 10% to 8%.

Among those opposed to legalization efforts is Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who said he doesn’t believe any state “became stronger by being stoned.” At a press conference in September, Ducey cited statistics regarding the state’s foster care system as the reason for his stance.

“If we want to expand this universe of people that are addicted and abusing drugs, well you’ll have that chance in November,” said Ducey. "I, for one, the person who has to deal with the 19,000 children that are in our foster care system that has 85% of their parents that are abusing or are addicted to drugs, do not think we should expand that universe or that it would be a good idea in any way."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites. 

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