Medical Marijuana Aimed for 2010 Ballot in Arizona
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Medical Marijuana Aimed for 2010 Ballot in Arizona
Posted by CN Staff on April 18, 2009 at 08:27:05 PT
By Amanda Crawford, Capitol Times Correspondent 
Source: Arizona Capitol Times
Arizona -- An effort is underway to legalize medical marijuana in Arizona through an initiative aiming for the 2010 ballot. The measure, expected to hit the streets soon, would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation to treat symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite, chronic pain and muscle spasms, said Andrew Myers, campaign manager for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project.
Myers said marijuana has proven effective in helping to ease the suffering of people with cancer, AIDS and other conditions."If we are going to fight a war on marijuana, let's at least take the sick and dying off the battlefield," Myers said. His group plans to file official language for the initiative with the Secretary of State in the next few weeks in order to begin collecting the 153,365 signatures needed by July 2010 to make the ballot. If the measure makes the ballot, it will mark the third time that Arizonans have weighed in on the issue. Voters passed two previous initiatives to legalize marijuana for medical use. The first, passed in 1996, was invalidated because of a drafting error. The second, passed in 1998, was overturned by the state Legislature. Since then, Arizona law has changed to forbid the Legislature from undoing voter-passed measures. Plus, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last month that the new federal administration would not prosecute people who are using medical marijuana in accordance with state laws.Thirteen other states, including California, New Mexico and Nevada, have legalized marijuana for medical use. Most of those states allow patients to grow their own marijuana, Myers said. California's law created dispensaries where patients could obtain marijuana, but Myers said there were problems in California's law that essentially created an unregulated industry.The Arizona initiative would also create dispensaries, but Myers said the Arizona dispensaries would be operated by nonprofits tightly regulated by the Arizona Department of Health Services. The dispensaries would be located in commercial areas and have to comply with strict security measures. They would be required to grow their own marijuana or obtain marijuana through another dispensary, so that there would be no connection to smuggling organizations, illegal operations or drug cartels.Only patients living more than 25 miles away from a dispensary would be allowed to grow their own marijuana, Myers said. Some research has shown that marijuana can sometimes be used in lieu of more addictive opioid medications, such as Oxycotin or Vicodin.Myers said he believes that there are thousands of ill Arizonans already using marijuana under their doctor's recommendations, but those people risk felony prosecution."I don't believe that the government should be getting in between a doctor and their patients," Myers said. Source: Arizona Capitol Times (AZ)Author: Amanda Crawford, Capitol Times Correspondent Published: April 18, 2009Copyright: 2009 Arizona Capitol TimesContact: editor azcapitoltimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 18, 2009 at 08:37:43 PT
New Push for Arizona for Medical Marijuana
The Associated PressApril 18, 2009Phoenix, AZ -- An initiative planned for the state ballot next year would ask Arizona voters to legalize medical marijuana and allow some patients to grow their own drug supply.It’s the fourth time since 1996 that state voters have been asked to decriminalize marijuana as a medical treatment.Local supporters, backed by the national Marijuana Policy Project, have their sights set on the 2010 general election and plan to submit ballot language to the Secretary of State’s Office as early as next week.The initiative would allow individuals with illnesses ranging from cancer to HIV/AIDS or glaucoma to seek a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana, according to draft ballot language obtained by The Arizona Republic.Eligible individuals would be able to purchase up to 2 ounces of the drug every 14 days from a series of nonprofit outlets, known as dispensaries.Patients in rural areas of the state could cultivate a limited number of their own marijuana plants.The initiative would shield from state prosecution the doctors who recommend marijuana for medical treatment, the dispensary workers who provide it and the patients who use it.Thirteen states already have legalized medical marijuana in some fashion, though only California has established a widespread network of dispensaries to distribute it.Proponents of medical marijuana say it can relieve pain and suffering.Supporters of the Arizona initiative say it would provide another treatment alternative to the desperately ill, sparing them and their family from having to brave the underground drug market and risk criminal prosecution.Skeptics question marijuana’s medicinal benefits and wonder whether efforts to legalize it for the sick and dying are a prelude to decriminalization for everyone else in the future.Copyright: 2009 Arizona Daily StarURL:
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