Pubdate: Thu, 06 Mar 2014
Source: Week, The (Delavan, WI)
Copyright: 2014 Bliss Communications Inc.
Author: J. M. Smith


If you're waiting around for Arizona to legalize marijuana, you're 
wasting your time

Last week, Alaska's esteemed lieutenant governor, Mead Treadwell,
ordered state officials to put a citizen initiative on the ballot for
Aug. 19 to legalize marijuana in the State From Which Sarah Palin Can
See Russia.

Treadwell didn't ask or advise those officials to add the measure to
the ballot. He didn't suggest it. He ordered it, because about 45,000
voters up that way decided the other voters should join them in a vote
on the issue. So they ordered the good lieutenant governor to order
the state to let the voters decide. And odds are good they'll decide
marijuana is maybe a tiny bit more dangerous than dust mites, and
they'll start selling it to us adults as they should, openly and
freely in stores right out in the open. I support legalization in
Alaska and elsewhere, even here. Or I did, anyway, when we passed it.

Wait ... what? Arizona passed marijuana legalization?

Yes, we did. It's a little something called the "Arizona Medical
Marijuana Act," and it allows us to freely buy and own and carry
around in our pockets, if we want to, up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana
for personal use. We can walk right into stores and plop down cash and
walk away with cannabis brownies or suckers or bags or jars full of
flowers. We are allowed to have a fuck ton of medication in our little
stash boxes and on the trays under the couch-more than most of us
would ever need. Maybe you can't, because maybe you don't have a
medical card, and if you don't have a medical marijuana card, then
you're kind of half-assing your support for legalization.

Because medical marijuana is legal.

Right now there are about 40,000 medical cardholders in Arizona, which
is far, far fewer than the number of people who qualify and are
already using cannabis. I've met dozens of people who say they support
legalization, but have no medical card. They all have reasons, most of
which don't fly.

It's too expensive: Getting a card costs roughly $250 the first year,
then $215ish for renewal years. Trust me, I understand being broke.
That sounds like a lot of money to me, too, but not in the scheme of
things. I spend much more money than that on PBR every year, so much
more I think I'd be afraid to see the numbers. Add Cabernet, and it's
ridiculously more than $250 per year. I spend more than that on
coffee. Many of you probably spend wildly more than that on coffee. So
it is expensive, but if you support legalization, you should support
the legal system we already have.

I don't qualify: You might be surprised to learn how easy it is to
qualify for a medical card. There are more than a dozen qualifying
ailments, including chronic pain. Chronic pain is the simplest entree.
It's basically defined as pain that last three months or more and
keeps you from doing things you want to do. That's a pretty low bar,
and if you've been in a car wreck or work at a desk or are older than
40, you probably qualify. Most people have some chronic pain. And
don't be scared by the word "debilitating." You don't have to be
disabled to get a card. If your pain prevents you from doing things
you want to, it's debilitating.

My pain keeps me from a long list of hobbies. Can I get out of bed and
go to work every day? Yes. Can I do it without pain? No. I shy away
from rock climbing, because it completely fucks my neck for a week
every time I go. I skip the lat pull-downs at gym for the same reason.
That's debilitating, according to my doctor.

I get a little weary listening to people who refuse to be part of our
legal system complain at length about their dream of legalization.
They point north to Colorado and Washington and soon Alaska, and they
say, "Jeez. I wish we had legalization." They rail against the man,
claiming the medical system is costly, that it's too restrictive, that
it's unfair. They stubbornly refuse to support it. These are the same
people who will complain about prices, even after legalization.

Maybe you do have a good hookup now, folks, and maybe your pot dealer
is a great guy with great prices and convenient hours of operation.
But if it isn't a legal hookup, if your pot dealer isn't a medical
hookup, you're not a real supporter of legalization.

You're just talking smack at the bar.
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MAP posted-by: Matt