PHOENIX – A lawmaker wants to have another statewide vote on whether Arizonans really want medical marijuana.
“No law should last forever, and if new facts come up, all laws should be reevaluated,” said Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills. “There’s good cause to believe the support no longer exists and people should be able to express that.”
Kavanagh has introduced a resolution that would create a 2014 referendum on whether to rescind the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which passed by 4,000 votes in 2010.
He said the measure stems from an Arizona Department of Health Services breakdown of medical marijuana cardholders that showed nearly 90 percent of the 34,000 Arizonans in the program cited severe and chronic pain. Less than 5 percent attributed their uses of medical marijuana to ease cancer and glaucoma symptoms.
Kavanagh said “vague, ill-defined, impossible-to-disprove” complaints of chronic pain suggest abuse.
“This is what critics feared: that it would be abused by people saying they had a bad back, and that’s apparently what we’ve gotten,” he said.
Kavanagh also pointed to a report by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission saying some youths reported obtaining marijuana from cardholders.
Some supporters of medical marijuana said critics are failing to acknowledge another finding in that report: Overall marijuana use in Arizona has decreased since the program has been in place.
Sunny Singh, the owner of weGrow, a company that sells supplies to cultivators and certifies patients, said Kavanagh’s legislation would jeopardize businesses and people statewide who spent a lot of money to get into the industry.
He said the program and his business have filled a much-needed void in the state.
“Everyone’s going to think of the stereotypical person who uses marijuana – you know, the dreadlocks and the reggae music,” he said. “We see a lot of patients, people who really use it as a medicine, people who are tired of taking painkillers and other pills that just do more damage to the body.”
Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, said those who prefer medical marijuana should be helped and not forced to take addictive painkillers.
“All those patients would be forced to go without medicine or risk arrest, along with other problems,” he said.
Three-quarters of money raised in support of Proposition 203, which created the law, came from the Marijuana Policy Project.
“The people of Arizona have spoken in regards to this issue,” Fox said. “It is irresponsible and a waste of time for others to try to interfere with that and assume the voters didn’t know what they were doing.”
Still, the program has garnered little support from Arizona leaders. Five county sheriffs, 11 county attorneys and both U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., opposed Proposition 203.
Kavanagh said the 2010 vote margin shows that his proposal has a good chance of passing if it makes the ballot.
“I just need a little over 2,000 people to change their minds because the margin was so slim,” Kavanagh said. “If that few people change their minds, the program goes away.”
- Affordable small home makeovers for Mother's Day
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon
- What you need to know about Alzheimer's disease in Arizona
- Spring clean your windows like a pro with these 8 tips
- 7 films that should have won best-picture Oscars
- New plumbing technology saves money and improves your home
- Survey shows Arizona CFOs optimistic about 2016
- How chronic pain can affect your love life