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Arizona senators speak out against medical marijuana proposition

U.S. Sen. John McCain speaks Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, at a news conference opposing Proposition 203, which would legalize medical marijuana. McCain, U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl and other GOP leaders spoke against the proposal. (Cronkite News Service Photo by David Rookhuyzen)

U.S. Sen. John McCain speaks Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, at a news conference opposing Proposition 203, which would legalize medical marijuana. McCain, U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl and other GOP leaders spoke against the proposal. (Cronkite News Service Photo by David Rookhuyzen)

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.

Provisions of Proposition 203
• Would allow 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks for those with qualifying medical conditions.
• Patients would need a doctor’s recommendation.
• Patients or caregivers could grow up to 12 plants if they live too far from a dispensary.
• Arizona Department of Health Services would issue licenses to dispensaries and identification cards to patients.

20 comments

  1. Note to McCain: RETIRE! You are completely out of touch with reality. If people weren’t being incarcerated–largely because of politicians such as yourself–I’d have included \no phun intended\. Fourteen states in this country have common sense and many patients in those states are finding relief from their symptoms. A foot in the door for legalization? That isn’t at all what Prop 203 is about. Let’s pretend legalization WAS on the ballot this year. The cartels creeping in and out of Arizona on a daily basis would suddenly find that their profit gains would shrink to the size of a grain of rice. People who logically would like an alternative to alcohol(a poison) wouldn’t have to worry every time there was marijuana smoke in the air and a knock on their door. I don’t know about the rest of Arizona, but personally I don’t feel it’s the politicians or the governments business what I ingest in the privacy of my own home. If anything, lay off of the suffering and ‘allow’ them in this free(?) country to use their medication. For the life of me I’ll never understand how someone smoking a joint in their own home harms another person; much less why they’d deserve to be locked up in a cage with common criminals. \Oh, but it’s Federal law!!\ Well then, CHANGE the Federal law.

  2. Talk about being out of touch with reality! I know who I’m not voting for. Exactly what has prohibition prohibited? Is the government scared it can’t control a controlled substance? Seriously, cannabis is all around us now. That’s the whole point! Prohibition isn’t working. If you can’t keep dope out of prison…think about it! I don’t think cannabis can be any more accessible than it currently is now. I can go to my corner convenience store and get anything, I really mean anything, in about an hour and the only question asked is, “How much?”. I don’t think that it can be any more accessible than that. Seriously…and some dealers are starting to deliver…just like the pizza guy.

    Prohibition isn’t working by any stretch of the imagination…unless you work in the prohibition business. Legalization only takes the enormous profits away from the drug cartels. No, they will not go out of business but a suit case full of money is less dangerous than a semi truck full of cash. Seems like some folks need to get out more to actually see what is really out there. The real world is beyond the beltway. You know, where the prison fodder lives.

    Take the enormous profits away from the drug cartels. Funny how our politicians, law enforcement, and the drug gangs all believe in prohibition…which is a war against all of us.

    Legalize and regulate.

  3. “Marijuana for medical treatment is the foot in the door for legalization,” said Kyl.

    Good. That’s one reason I’ll be voting for it. That and the fact that I’ve known two cancer patients who swear it’s the only thing that worked for them.

  4. The thing I never got is the people who abuse medical marijuana systems already use marijuana illegally, yet they go threw the paper work, the appointment, and pay the money to use it legally. Why is that so bad?

  5. The picture above is quite comical. “Marijuana is not medicine!” One problem with marijuana not being medicine: the American Medical Association SAY it’s medicine. Is alcohol and tobacco medicine? It must be since it only KILLS HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS each and EVERY year, while marijuana is LUCKY if it claims a single person.

    These people against marijuana truly are clueless…

  6. Jesus said, Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. (Matthew 7:12).

    I know I would not want my child sent to jail with the sexual predators, or my aging parents to have their house confiscated and sold by the police, over a little marijuana.

    We can change the world when we vote.

  7. Translation ““We obviously have great sympathy for those who struggle in pain or discomfort from debilitating diseases and medical conditions,” McCain said, “but allowing them to receive comfort from a plant they can grow at home is too detrimental to the profits of big pharma.””

  8. Ask the good senator why the government provides marijuana to some patients who went through a long court battle years ago to obtain their medicine but encourages SWAT teams to arrest other medical patients, killing pets, people, and terrorizing families over small amounts of marijuana. Ask why the government encouraged children to grow cannabis in 1942 (Kentucky Agricultural Extension Service Brochure) to provide seed for farmers who grew cannabis during World War II less than five years after they banned the \Assassin of Youth\ through the Marijuana Tax Act. Ask why the federal government has created such a myriad of rules and regulations to for all practical senses prohibit marijuana research, particularly if the research hypothesis might suggest a positive outcome. Ask why the Veteran’s administration now allows those being treated for pain to also be medical marijuana patients in states that allow. Ask why the Drug Czar is prohibited by federal law in his job description from even discussing legalization of medical marijuana despite ANY evidence to the contrary. Ask why the first antitumor research in Virginia in 1974 was shut down by the federal government when they discovered that a component of cannabis indeed did have antitumor properties. Ask why the FDA approves toxic medicines that are seen a few years later on late nite TV (as reports of death and serious injury become known) when they cannot provide approval for a plant that has been used as medicine for 5,000 years with no reports of toxic overdose. Ask why the FDA chooses to support large pharmaceutical companies rather than patients. Ask why close to one third (SAMHSA) of those seeking treatment for marijuana addiction have not even used marijuana in the 30 days prior to treatment and ask how addictive it could really be when all but a few are court ordered. Ask why after one trillion dollars in Drug War expenditures and imprisonment of twenty million of our citizens that none of the original ten goals of the Drug War have been met (recent AP article). Ask why its bailouts for Wall street but SWAT teams for Main street where 40% of our population reports to the government on surveys that they have used marijuana. Ask yourself why citizens in 14 other states have passed medical marijuana legislation despite federal interference in state elections. Please join me in passing proposition 203.

  9. Marijuana is literally not toxic and has never killed due to overdose in 5,000 years of use as a medicine according to Lester Grinspoon , (Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and senior psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston for 40 years). There is not any real mention of marijuana as being addictive (in medical literature) until well after the start of the War on Drugs. Donald Tashkin, one of the nation’s leading pulmonologists, at UCLA spent many years researching the effects of marijuana on human lungs. He was understandably concerned about the components of marijuana smoke and did research that he expected would show an association between smoked marijuana and COPD. Tashkin and colleagues at UCLA conducted a major study in which they measured lung function over eight years and found that tobacco-only smokers had an accelerated rate of decline, but marijuana smokers –even if they smoked tobacco as well– experienced the same rate of decline as non-smokers. “The more tobacco smoked, the greater the rate of decline,” said Tashkin. “In contrast, no matter how much marijuana was smoked, the rate of decline was similar to normal.” Taskin also spent time expecting to show a relationship between marijuana and cancer. What Tashkin and his colleagues found, however, disproved their hypothesis. Tashkin noted that an anti-proliferative effect of THC has been observed in cell-culture systems and animal models of brain, breast, prostate, and lung cancer. THC has been shown to promote apoptosis (damaged cells die instead of reproducing) and to counter angiogenesis (the process by which blood vessels are formed —a requirement of tumor growth). Other antioxidants in cannabis may also be involved in countering malignancy, said Tashkin. In short, marijuana shows a protective effect that prevents the development of several different types of tumors. Indeed, researchers have found that those that smoke tobacco only die sooner, as a group, than those who smoke tobacco and marijuana.

  10. I’ve never known anyone who has overdosed on MJ. Yet many die from alcohol and prescription medicine. Prop 203 is not Calif Prop 19. For thoese people I see who are suffering from pain, MJ and Marinol are options. Many very sick patients have extreme nausea and I would recommend MJ to them. Someone needs to speak up for those who are dying or live in constant pain. Prescription medicines often do more harm in the long run. As a physician I urge you to vote YES on 203.

  11. I Completely agree.
    if Marijuana is legalized then it will eventually be abused and drug addicts will attempt to qualify themselves to be prescribed that drug so they can get their fix legally.
    I am not against people who are ill and could use marijuana as a drug that could help them, but all in all, this law will be abused.

  12. More old men who are afraid of change. And they lie that they want the budget balanced!

  13. These are narcissistic old men who only care about themselves. They need to go. Unfortunately, most AZ voters are only interested in their beer and football.

  14. You know what they say – can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Same goes for our government. I am so disgusted with the decisions they are making. Everyday seems only to bring more poor decisions – prohibition of marijuana is just one of the complete screw ups our country is responsible for. I don’t think our leaders are capable of fixing things either. This country is going down the toilet and as long as our leaders continue to only look out for themselves, things won’t get any better.

  15. How many federal agents, sheriff deputies, local PD officers, investigators, detectives, lab testers, prison guards and other various LEOs would be out of work if MJ was legalized? That is why it is still illegal and will stay if the status quo keeps control. Cartels are not the only ones who profit off of illicit trade.
    PS: Anyone ever do/see hand counting? I guarantee the end result will be the result the counters are looking for. BLNT.

  16. I’m real disappointed in the number of people who voted against a medicine for the sick. You might reexamine your reasoning as you are being herded into what to think by fear. The government is good at it and so are the corporations. They don’t want you to think. Just react.

  17. There is a new Barbie doll on the market – FrankenBarbie . . . comes with bolts through her neck

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