Pubdate: Thu, 30 Sep 2010
Source: Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ)
Copyright: 2010 Arizona Daily Star
Author: Andrew Myers


This guest opinion was written by Andrew Myers, campaign manager for the 
Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project:

Why should Arizonans not be concerned about possible increased crime
associated with medical marijuana dispensaries?

Proposition 203 would make the medical use of marijuana legal and
safely accessible to patients through state-licensed dispensaries. It
would establish a tight and sensible system of regulation for the
cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana.

We have learned a great deal since initiatives in California and
Colorado passed about the kinds of regulations that are needed.

Unlike the California law, the Arizona initiative restricts the use of
medical marijuana to patients with a limited number of serious
"debilitating medical conditions."

The Arizona law also would limit the number of dispensaries in the
state to one for every 10 pharmacies. This means there will only be
124 dispensaries throughout the entire state.

How do you respond to the the fact that the American Medical
Association, the American Cancer Society and the Federal Drug
Administration do not endorse marijuana as a treatment for any medical

As most people know, medical marijuana provides a real benefit to
cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy treatments. It reduces
their nausea and allows them to eat so they can maintain their
strength and fight to survive. Medical marijuana is also beneficial to
multiple sclerosis patients, as it helps reduce muscle spasticity and
diminishes neuropathic pain. People with chronic and severe pain also
find relief from medical marijuana. In many cases, the use of medical
marijuana allows these patients to reduce their dependence on opioids
like OxyContin, which are far more dangerous and addictive.

The AMA actually put out a statement earlier this year recognizing
marijuana's medical efficacy and endorsing increased research with the
goal of rescheduling marijuana into Schedule II. For the most
conservative medical association in the country, this is a very
significant step and a recognition that marijuana has significant
medical benefit.

Moreover, many other organizations, including the American Public
Health Association, the American Nurses Association and the Leukemia
and Lymphoma Society, endorse medical marijuana. Our opponents are
cherry-picking and trying to convince voters that marijuana is
rejected as medicine by the medical community. That is utterly false.
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MAP posted-by: Matt