Pubdate: Mon, 05 Apr 2010
Source: Arizona Daily Sun (AZ)
Copyright: 2010 Arizona Daily Sun
Author: Howard Fischer
Referenced: The initiative
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - United States)


PHOENIX -- A Phoenix political consultant has launched a campaign 
designed to convince Arizonans not to allow medical marijuana in the state.

Max Fose has formed a campaign committee called "Stop The Pot." 
Campaign finance reports show he is the only contributor to date, 
having put up $2,500.

Fose did not return repeated phone calls asking him his interest in 
the issue or whether he is fronting for some other organization.

But Web pages already erected by the committee appear designed both 
to alarm Arizonans about the effects of the ballot measure and 
undermine the credibility of the national Marijuana Policy Project, 
which is funding the Arizona initiative.

The initiative would allow a doctor to issue a written recommendation 
that a patient with certain medical conditions to be able to purchase 
and possess marijuana despite state laws making it a felony. Those 
with these recommendations could go to a nonprofit dispensary and 
obtain up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks.

Fose's Web site puts that in different terms.

"Users will be able to smoke over 200 joints every 14 days," it 
warns. "200 joints a person is a lot of drugs on our streets, in our 
neighborhoods and around our children."

Andrew Myers, campaign manager for the medical marijuana initiative, 
acknowledged the amount might seem excessive at first glance. But, he 
said that is based on the idea that everyone with a prescription will smoke it.

He said ingesting marijuana is "the easiest route" for many people, 
including the vulnerable and frail, to get the effects. Myers said 
that, quite simply, it takes more marijuana being eaten or put into 
tea to get the same effect as lighting it up.

Then there's the question of the dispensaries.

"California has over 800 pot shops," the anti-initiative Web site 
warns. "Do you want a pot shop in your neighborhood?"

Myers said the Arizona initiative requires that the dispensaries be 
located in areas zoned for commercial or industrial use, though that 
does not preclude them from being near homes. He said, though, 
dispensaries cannot be located within 500 feet of schools; state law 
has a 300-foot minimum between schools and bars.

There is also the question of funding for the initiative.

Nearly $489,000 already has been contributed by the Marijuana Policy 
Project, a national organization that pushes these kinds of changes 
throughout the nation.

Mike Meno, the organization's spokesman, said it has 29,000 
dues-paying members but does not provide details of who has given 
what. He did acknowledge that Peter Lewis, the founder of Progressive 
Insurance Co. is board chairman and major contributor.

Fose, in his Web site, pointed out that Rob Kampia, the 
organization's executive director, took a three-month "medical 
leave," a leave that said was due to charges of 
having sex with a staffer. Meno confirmed that Kampia, in leaving to 
get therapy, said he was "hypersexualized."

Lewis was a major source of cash in the original 1996 Arizona 
initiative to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana and other illegal 
drugs to patients, giving $330,000 to that effort.

That measure was approved. But it had no effect after the U.S. Drug 
Enforcement Agency said it would revoke all prescription-writing 
privileges of doctors who prescribe marijuana.

That is why this measure, like other subsequently approved in other 
states, instead allows written "certifications."

Myers questioned whether Fose is really interested in the issue. He 
suggested that Fose's involvement may be strictly financial, building 
an anti-marijuana campaign with his own money in hopes of eventually 
finding a paying client for his consulting firm. 
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