Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday that she opposes a November ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana in the state, arguing that it would cause pot to “needlessly and harmfully proliferate.”
Brewer said the measure will require the state to establish a costly regulatory system at a difficult financial time.
“Arizona taxpayers cannot — and should not — bear the cost of creating an environment in which the use and availability of marijuana will needlessly and harmfully proliferate,” she said, adding that in other states with medical marijuana laws on the books, a large percentage of approved users are teenagers.
“I will tell you compassion quickly will turn to capitalism,” Brewer said.
Arizona’s measure, Proposition 203, will go to voters Nov. 2. It would legalize marijuana only for patients with diseases including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, glaucoma and Crohn’s disease, among others, and any other “chronic or debilitating” diseases that cause continuous and severe pain, severe nausea, or seizures.
The patients must get a recommendation from their doctor and register with the Arizona Department of Health Services. They would be allowed to get 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks, or if they’re properly authorized, grow 12 marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked area.
Supporters say patients who aren’t helped by prescription drugs shouldn’t have to choose between living in pain and buying marijuana illegally.
November will be the fourth time in 14 years Arizona voters will consider the issue.
Voters overwhelmingly approved a medical marijuana law in 1996 and 1998, but wording conflicted with federal law, blocking its enactment. Then in 2002, voters rejected a sweeping initiative that would have decriminalized possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana for any user and required state police to hand out the drug to seriously ill people.
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, and 13 other states and Washington, D.C., have since followed suit.