Initiative Would Make Marijuana Legal for Ill

  Initiative Would Make Marijuana Legal for Ill

Posted by CN Staff on January 10, 2008 at 19:27:31 PT
By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services 
Source: East Valley Tribune 

AZ -- Arizona voters may get a chance this year to do what they thought they were doing in 1996: allow people who are ill to possess and use marijuana legally. An initiative being crafted would spell out that individuals who are certified by their doctors as needing the drug would be able to possess small amounts — the details are still being worked out — without running afoul of state law. They also would be able to grow their own drugs.
Backers, organized as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, have until July 3 to get the 153,365 signatures necessary to put the measure on the November ballot.Financing for the initiative is coming from the national Marijuana Policy Project which bills itself as the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the country. It already has kicked in $10,000.That organization is no stranger to state initiatives: It also was behind a 2006 Nevada ballot measure to decriminalize marijuana and instead regulate and tax it. But that initiative picked up just 44 percent of the vote.Two years earlier, though, it financed a successful medical initiative in Montana.Dan Bernath, a spokesman for the national group, said it appears voters are more willing to allow people who are ill to use marijuana than to make its possession legal for everyone.That has proven to be the case in Arizona, where by a 2-1 margin voters in 1996 approved a law allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana — and various other illegal drugs — to patients who are seriously or terminally ill. That law was ratified again two years later by voters after state legislators attempted to partially repeal it.But a 2002 initiative, which included a provision to reduce the penalty for possession of up to 2 ounces to a fine, picked up just 43 percent of the vote.The new initiative comes because the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency effectively quashed the 1996 law by threatening to revoke all prescription-writing privileges of any physician who prescribed otherwise illegal drugs to their Arizona patients. The result is no Arizona doctor has written such a prescription.Alternate language for this measure, still being worked out, would allow doctors to “recommend” marijuana.That distinction is crucial: The U.S. Supreme Court, in a historic 2003 ruling, blocked the DEA from going after California doctors who, using that state’s law, recommend a patient use marijuana.That still leaves the question of how patients are supposed to get the drugs in the first place.Courts have allowed agents to pursue suppliers. And some of the “dispensaries” in California have been raided.Bernath said that is why states which have adopted medical marijuana laws since California allow patients or a “designated caregiver” to grow a set amount of the drug.“This keeps it small enough that the federal government doesn’t turn its attention to those kind of things,” he said.That defeated 2002 initiative attempted to deal with the supply problem by allowing anyone with a doctor’s recommendation to get up to 2 ounces of marijuana, free, each month from the state Department of Public Safety, which presumably would have obtained its supply from drugs seized from those who lack the necessary state permission.That initiative was opposed by Janet Napolitano, then the state attorney general and, at the time, a candidate for governor, despite her admission of having indulged.“I experimented in college a little bit and regret doing it,” she said at the time. “When you’re in college you do a lot of dumb stuff.” Source: East Valley Tribune (AZ)Author: Howard Fischer, Capitol Media ServicesPublished: January 10, 2008Copyright: 2008 East Valley TribuneContact:  forum aztrib.comWebsite: http://www.eastvalleytribune.comMarijuana Policy Project Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #6 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 11, 2008 at 10:01:02 PT
McCain Must Be Pissed
The marijuana consumer hating Senator McCain from Arizona is probably pissed off about this development based on his reactions to questions during his Presidential campaign. Doesn't matter, though. He will never get the Republican nomination, and even if he did, Democrats are voting two to one based on results from Iowa and New Hampshire. It woudl be great if the entire Republican party were voted out of their offices this election. I can't think of a hateful group who deserves it more. 
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Comment #5 posted by tintala on January 10, 2008 at 21:22:34 PT:
yeah but it doesn't happen without donations from
YOU! IN order for Mpp to do these litigations it happened with donations on the grassroots levels, this means EVERYONE should donate.If everyone that read this article donated they'd be litigating a few other states as well and would be well on there way to re-initiating ballots in failed states..consider making a small donation to them ASAP all you have to give is 5$.
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on January 10, 2008 at 20:54:56 PT
now cellulose breakdown cost will come down
where is mayan and how is joseE. Coli Use in Biofuel Production  
 UCLA licenses modification of E. coli bacteria for producing biofuels. 
 Compiled By Staff (January 9, 2008) f4f -- hope the dems speak out like ron paul about the two wars --- barack could speak to that issue and stand up for ron paul-- then we would see where the other pols are on changing the drug war
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Comment #3 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 10, 2008 at 20:41:05 PT
I'll Smoke To That
Got to love the steady push toward regulation of marijuana by MPP. Thanks guys.(Oh my God! Have we become drug war pundits?) LOL
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Comment #2 posted by RevRayGreen on January 10, 2008 at 20:22:39 PT
I plan on going
to visit in Tucson in March........might have to move back. Tucson is one town I know.
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Comment #1 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 10, 2008 at 19:40:02 PT:

MPP at it again
Not enough can be said about these guys. Hats off to all the progress they are making.
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