Pubdate: Fri, 29 Oct 2010
Source: East Valley Tribune (AZ)
Copyright: 2010 East Valley Tribune.
Author: David Rookhuyzen
Bookmark: (Proposition 203)


U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl led a group of Republican officials
Wednesday denouncing a ballot measure that would allow medical marijuana.

"Marijuana for medical treatment is the foot in the door for
legalization," Kyl said at a news conference opposing Proposition 203.

McCain, who is running for a fifth term, pointed out that the medical
community has declined to back medical marijuana.

"We obviously have great sympathy for those who struggle in pain or
discomfort from debilitating diseases and medical conditions," McCain
said, "but this proposition is not the solution."

Proposition 203 would allow those with qualifying medical conditions
to receive 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from licensed
dispensaries. Those living too far from a dispensary could grow up to
12 plants.

Arizona voters approved medical marijuana in 1996, but the measure
never took effect because it required a doctor's prescription, which
is illegal under federal law.

Rick Romley, the interim Maricopa Country attorney, said that
Proposition 203 is a stepping stone toward legalization without
serious discussion of the issue.

"It's a fair question of whether we should legalize it or not," Romley
said. "I welcome that debate. But they don't want that debate."

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk said that the inclusion of chronic
pain as a qualifying condition would lead to abuse. In states with
similar laws, roughly 95 percent of users claim to have pain in order
to get the drug, she said.

"This is not a tightly regulated scheme to dispense marijuana as
medicine to the seriously ill; the opposite is true," Polk said.

Standing by outside the news conference was Andrew Myers, campaign
manager for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, the lead
group supporting Proposition 203.

He said leaders often want to appear tough on marijuana use because
they don't want to seem soft on crime.

"Unfortunately, I think this policy is more supported by the people of
Arizona than the leaders of Arizona," Myers said.  
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