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Former Phoenix police employee takes helm of medical marijuana initiative

The push for legalized medical marijuana use in Arizona has gone from corporate to personal, now that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project has designated a Tucson woman suffering from multiple sclerosis to head its 2010 ballot initiative committee.

The committee’s Nov. 23 filing with the Secretary of State’s Office named Diane Manchester as the committee’s official chairman. She replaced Joe Yuhas, a director of the Phoenix-based office of advertising consultant Riester.

Manchester, a former civilian employee of the Phoenix Police Department who has since retired on disability, said regular marijuana use helps her cope with physical pain associated with multiple sclerosis and her prescribed medications. She also said it allows her to maintain her appetite and mental acuity.

Manchester said she has accepted the position of chairperson of the committee with the goal of changing Arizona’s drug laws to confront the fear among medical marijuana users of arrest.

“I am so prone to being scared, and it’s terrible,” she said. “I want to stop the fear of the people who need it (marijuana). I am so tired of not being able to tell the truth. I know when my name and picture are out there people are going to know me. And that’s okay.”

So far, the ballot initiative committee has collected 190,000 signatures in Arizona, said Andrew Myers, a campaign consultant who served on the staff of former Gov. Janet Napolitano.

The number surpasses the 153,365 signatures of Arizona voters needed to turn into the Secretary of State’s Office by July 4, 2010, to qualify for the 2010 ballot. Myers said the committee plans on collecting 250,000 signatures to make sure enough of the signatures are valid.

Myers said the signature gathering effort has been successful because the public understands the difference between illicit recreational drug use and the “compassionate” dispensing of marijuana to patients suffering from serious medical conditions.

Manchester said she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001 after falling ill during a retreat assembled for employees of the Phoenix Police Department, where she processed licenses and paperwork for security alarms.

The Tucson resident said she looks forward to the possibility growing her own marijuana, which she said has helped her “live a normal life.” Experimentation with Marinol, a pharmaceutical drug containing a synthetic version of the active drug in marijuana, gives her headaches, she said.

The ballot proposal seeks to make it legal for Arizonans with certain medical conditions and symptoms to obtain limited amounts of marijuana for personal use from state-regulated dispensaries. Licensing and regulation would be handled by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

If the measure passes, people diagnosed with cancer, AIDs, HIV, Alzheimer’s, Hepatitis C and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis would qualify for protection under state law.

Glaucoma patients and others ailing from diseases or medical treatments that cause severe and chronic pain, nausea, seizures, muscle spasms and severe loss of muscle mass also would be permitted to use marijuana with the recommendation of a doctor and department consent.

The language in the ballot proposition also aims to restrict prosecution under federal law, but it’s unclear whether that language would have any impact on federal decisions to seek prosecution.

With the approval of the Department of Health Services, patients would be permitted to possess as much as two-and-a-half ounces of marijuana. The department also would have discretion to authorize individuals to grow their own marijuana for medical use.

The proposal would permit “designated caregivers” to grow up to 12 marijuana plants to assist no more than five patients who have been approved by the department to use marijuana for medical purposes. Caregivers must be at least 21 years old and cannot have prior convictions for violent offenses or felony violations of federal drugs laws.

Members of public would be allowed to petition the department to add other medical conditions to the list of diseases and symptoms that would qualify under the medical marijuana law.

The proposal does not allow approved marijuana users to operate motor vehicles while under influence of the drug, and use is prohibited in preschools, primary schools, secondary schools and correctional facilities.
So far, no opposition groups to the initiative have been registered with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Myers said he is confident that if passed by voters, the medical marijuana initiative would create an unequaled and tightly regulated dispensary system that would thwart potential abuses of relaxed marijuana laws.

The consultant criticized a successful medical marijuana initiative in California for creating a patchwork of varying regulations among local governments and a thriving unregulated industry of marijuana dispensaries.

“This is not California’s program,” he said.

10 comments

  1. It is important to note the original instances that created our current problem. A racist push for department finances and special interests were the original reasons for marijuana prohibition. Alcohol prohibition had ended. The head of what equaled the DEA 70 odd years ago needed revenue.. This is the original mindset and process that criminalized marijuana…

    Harry J. Anslinger – most direct founder of marijuana prohibition:

    “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
    “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
    “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”
    “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
    “Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”
    “You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”
    “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

    William Randolf Hearst – H.J.Anslinger’s Yellow Journalism partner, San Francisco Examiner:

    “Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days — Hashish goads users to bloodlust.”
    “By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….”

    Other nationwide columns:

    “Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug.”
    “Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim’s life in Los Angeles?… THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES — that is a matter of cold record.”

    Furthermore:

    “Hearst and Anslinger were then supported by DuPont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. DuPont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp removed as competition. The pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize cannabis dosages, and besides, with cannabis, folks could grow their own medicine and not have to purchase it from large companies. ”

    After completing this two year plan to brainwash society using these sensationalist reports fostered by racist ideology and funded by special intrest, all these guys needed was evidence.. They of course did find their evidence – A two year campaign of manipulated media-opinion coverage was presented as documented evidence to a government committee..

    The committee passed the legislation on. And on the floor of the house, the entire discussion was:

    Member from upstate New York: “Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about?”
    Speaker Rayburn: “I don’t know. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I think it’s a narcotic of some kind.”
    “Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association support this bill?”
    Member on the committee jumps up and says: “Their Doctor Wentworth came down here. They support this bill 100 percent.”

    And on the basis of that lie, on August 2, 1937, marijuana became illegal at the federal level.

    At this point the enforcement bodies are using similar tactics to maintain negative opinion on marijuana… Current public remarks, ads, and press releases do not contain the same racist sentiment – that is true.. usually… unless indirect… Although… the use of marijuana among users of all races here in the USA are proportionate, but for some strange reason arrests for possession is considerably varied when viewed by race…

    No, it is FEAR they still publicly use… Disjointed ads that depict someone neglecting a child or whatever horribly bad imagery they can muster to hold your moral fiber hostage.. Tools of fear, these things are not directly related with marijuana use. There are plenty of people that neglect children with no influence of marijuana. Those are the same people whether they excessively watch TV, play some mmorpg, drink alcohol, abuse steroids, coach a high school football team – what ever – eat pizza every weekend.. the correlation might as well be any of that… Fact is, you would not want intoxication and care of a child together… General opinion supporting this is twisted into acceptance that marijuana makes this happen… Irresponsibility is the fiend, and marijuana did not create the irresponsibility. Imagine the same message blaming beer for causing the child neglect… Excluding propaganda, a seemingly more plausible scenario anyhow, blame seems naturally assigned to the drinker and not the drink… The changing factor is the shroud of “Reefer Madness”. Just as in the start.. same old “Earth will plunge into Hell” fear mongering arguments… Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    Of course, there are entities that benefit from marijuana prohibition and are also sworn to uphold it as part of their very job description.
    To quote the DEA, the last time I was at their site:

    “The short term effects of marijuana use include:
    Memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor skills, decrease in muscle strength, increased heart rate, and anxiety.”

    Now lets look at short term effects with alcohol, only briefly though because the list just goes on and on:

    The short term effects of alcohol use include but not nearly limited to:
    Reduced Inhibitions,Loss of Muscle Control, Memory Loss and/or Blackouts, Trouble with Thinking and Problem Solving, Nausea, Vomiting ,Headaches, Hangovers, Stupor, Distorted Perception, Decrease in Heart Rate, decrease in Muscle Strength, Suicidal Tendencies, Anxiety, and Coma.

    To put it mildly ..I personally do not think marijuana is addictive. Sources supporting otherwise say marijuana is addictive on a psychological level and not a physical level… So, you think you need it, but your body, including the brain, is not truly addicted.. Negative effects of detoxing for marijuana are as bad as anxious behavior/less patience.. Negative effects of detoxing for alcohol are as bad as death…

    Rational individuals, who are agenda free, can not deny the dangers of alcohol.

    With further investigation, the prohibition on marijuana is much worse for society than that of its legalization.

    Suggest, if you will… Normal everyday citizen… They go to work, balance their check book, pay for things, raise children.. you know, live a normal life with one exception.. they ingest marijuana.. Barring any excessive usage/abuse, (which is clearly the same case as with many already legal substances), these people function fine… except respiratory issues when smoked… Do I need mention it is legal to “smoke”! Now lets look at when that same normal everyday citizen gets arrested for possession:

    Prohibition can cause in short:

    1) job loss
    2) criminal charges
    3) loss of children
    4) denial of federal aid
    5) financial downfall
    6) life endangerment
    7) loss of freedom

    The cruel and unusual punishment list goes on… Point is, again, marijuana prohibition is worse for the individual/society than legalization… and not for a moment should we accept this “gateway drug” propaganda… Those whom do, think this plant is essentially the stepping stone to harder drugs.. This bothers me, the marijuana plant is really the first step of drug abuse, and punished as the worst class of drug? Seems to me, these already invalid arguments contradict themselves anyway… This is cruel and unusual punishment at its finest… You get caught with the first step, and you get punished as if you were on the last step.. Yes, the broad arm of enforcement claims it is favorable in the struggle to discourage usage of marijuana… so it wont draw you in, suck you up into a crazy world of drug culture, and expose you to other harder illegal drugs.. Even pretending this is real.. People still end up paying the exaggerated punishment while campaign results are grim. Prohibition is the fiend, and marijuana did not create the prohibition. Eliminate the black market distribution and good people will no longer need to be exposed to the black market.. Eradication and prohibition efforts have not accomplished this, and I dare say will not.. You have to give it up to the enforcement guys though .. They are charged with upholding this law and to do anything they can that will accomplish that. It is our job to change the laws.. then enforcement will be sworn to uphold the new ones.

    In conclusion it appears to me there is big money at work – alcohol, textile, oil, enforcement agencies, drug cartels, etc, all benefit. The rest of us seem to be pawns… that is:

    Unless we speak up and let our voice be heard for change in the current law, and against any individual that would have you believe “A law is a law – it does not matter if it is wrong or right!”.

    The latter happens to be against a founding principle of this great country. Stop wasting resources on this plant. Record eradication every year – as well as – record growth and availability. This is a money pit for something that is no worse than alcohol.

    To those whom are against marijuana – free your mind of arguments attached to fear mongering please.

  2. What was Manchester’s former function with the Phoenix PD? Did she contribute (hypocritically) to the prosecution of drug users? When did she learn she had MS, and when did she learn that marijuana helped her condition? Was she the beneficiary of a (self-serving) conversion on the subject? Yourr reporter leaves too many important questions unanswered. It seems this field is replete with ex LEO types who actively put drug users behind bars when they were wearing a badge. If we can’t evaluate why (and if) they changed their minds, we can’t evaluate whether their organizations are worthy of support.

  3. chronic pain narcotic opioids are effective but very dangerous, should be taken with moderation and prescribed by a doctor, medicines like hydrocodone, lortab, vicodin, norco, percocet, oxycontin, are even more commercial and very helpful to people with diseases such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, Parkinson’s, arthritis, should be restricted and controlled as in findrxonline said that the FDA does not permit free marketing for them.

  4. Must we really go through this all over again? Then, let’s at least pass this law swiftly and stop worrying about pot smokers.

  5. Thanks for sharing information for medical marijuana initiative I really impressed and want some more stuffs again for this post.try this site for medical marijuana visit :- http://www.marijuana-license.com

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