Arizona votes to legalize recreational marijuana

Voters in the Grand Canyon State legalized recreational marijuana Tuesday, joining 11 other states that have done so, including New Jersey.

The newly approved Proposition 207 legalizes possession of as much as an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older; the measure also sets up a licensing system for the retail sale of the drug, the Arizona Republic reported.

Pot will go on sale beginning in March, starting at the states more than 100 already-operating medical marijuana dispensaries, the Republic reported.

Also under the measure, people previously convicted of marijuana crimes, including felony possession, can have their records expunged by the courts.

Retailers will collect a 16 percent excise tax on top of the regular sales tax. The total tax windfall for the state and municipalities is estimated to exceed $200 million annually.

The revenue would compensate the Department of Health Service and law enforcement for their additional costs in regulating marijuana sales; the rest would mostly fund community colleges.

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