Just stop already - Let medical marijuana stand - The Explorer: Columns

Just stop already - Let medical marijuana stand

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Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 4:06 pm

Respecting the people’s opinion, and democracy, doesn’t appear to be the strong suit of many of our state’s lawmakers. No, instead, our state’s leaders continue to fight the 2010 voter-approved initiative that has made medical marijuana legal.

Gov. Jan Brewer and many of her fellow Republican friends have made the process to actually get dispensaries open, and get licensed ridiculous. While they have continually disregarded the opinion of the federal government, they even used them as a reason not to move forward. 

Now that all of those stalling tactics have ended, we have Rep. John Kavannagh, R-Fountain Hills, believing it’s time to introduce a bill to repeal the state’s 2-year-old medical marijuana program.

Kavanagh has convinced himself that the people have had time to rethink their votes, and now the question should be put back on the ballot to give voters another chance. The sad thing is he’ll probably get the 16 votes he needs in the Senate, and the 31 votes he needs from the House to move forward with even more nonsense that is nothing more than a waste of time. 

Granted, the 2010 measure passed narrowly, winning by 4,340 votes out of the 1.7 million ballots cast statewide. Proposition 203 actually was defeated in 12 of the state’s 15 counties. But that was more than countered by very strong support in Pima and Coconino counties; it also was approved in Santa Cruz County.

To these continued tactics by those who disagree with making medical marijuana legal, I say enough already. It was passed by the people in a legitimate election. Agree or disagree, the bottom line is the people spoke, and it’s time for our state lawmakers to show some respect for it.

Frankly, the voters haven’t had time to rethink it because we haven’t seen if it has created a problem. The state has stalled the process too much. Facilities that are selling the medical marijuana haven’t even been opened very long.

Arizona acts like this has never happened and needs all this attention when so many other states are doing it, and frankly, it doesn’t appear to be a problem.

Let’s look at Colorado. They passed medical marijuana laws years ago. It went well, and voters were asked if they wanted to make marijuana legal altogether. Voters approved it.

Again, agree or disagree, what I liked is one Republican lawmaker, who completely disagreed with it, said he would not only respect the will of the people, but has also co-written legislation with a Democratic colleague to protect the state from being punished by the federal government.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado introduced the bill that would bar the federal government from blocking state marijuana laws, and Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado signed on to support it.

“I voted against Amendment 64 and I strongly oppose the legalization of marijuana, but I also have an obligation to respect the will of the voters,” Coffman said in a statement. “I feel obligated to support this legislation.”

This is the kind of lawmaker we need in Arizona. We need ones who may disagree, but understand what it means for the voters to speak and that it is their job to respect it, protect it and move on already.

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Welcome to the discussion.

6 comments:

  • John J Flanagan posted at 5:02 pm on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    John J Flanagan Posts: 33

    I wonder if those who posted comments here stating that politicians must follow the will of the people realize or want to admit that our beloved socialist leader Obama, contrary to the will of the people, refused to defend laws he is opposed to personally. For example, he dislikes DOMA, and therefore does not enforce it. He rejects Constitutional requirements to release information under the FOI regarding investigations of his activities, and has a host of other areas in which the will of the people, as well as the safeguards of the Constitution are ignored for political expediency. The ball bounces both ways, my friends. As for the medical marijuana argument, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that only potheads and progressives want it, and they do in fact want it to open the door to full legalization.

     
  • C_Money posted at 1:34 pm on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    C_Money Posts: 1

    So many of these politicians forget that they are in office to service the will of the PEOPLE. This does not mean they pursue their own agendas of force their values on the people that elected them. If they don't realize this soon they deserve to be removed from office. Marijuana has many positive effects and can help many conditions with fewer side effects than the stuff being pushed on commercials daily. The "real" opposition to legalization is coming from this sector.

     
  • Smokey posted at 11:44 am on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    Smokey Posts: 15

    Lawmakers that presume voters are incapable of making an informed decision, such as this one, need to be reminded regularly and firmly that we do, if fact, have a clue--we understand that out-of-control, arrogant lawmakers are a hindrance to our inherent freedom of choice in a multitude of personal issues.
    The shallow, invalid, non-supportable statement by Mr. Flanagan regarding the "gateway" argument is simply close minded and shop-worn.
    I strongly suggest that he and others holding a similar opinion should do a bit of homework--they would discover that the side effects from a countless array of prescription medications on the market today have a laundry list of horrendous potential side effects. In particular, pain medications are virtually guaranteed to become quickly addictive and routinely degrade one's quality of life to the point of making them essentially non-functional. Medical marijuana has NOT been shown to have these side effects, but does help relieve/control chronic pain, has a positive affect on PTSD, and the list of "good" issues goes on.
    I would not want to take away a medication from someone who gets relief from their chronic suffering by using a medication that has proven to be of benefit to them without the downside of street drugs that are unarguably death traps and ignite violent behavior. Also, I cannot recall a single violent incident reported on the local or national news that involved the use of marijuana, for medical purposes or otherwise.
    The bottom line here is that marijuana is not a gateway drug, it is not a cause of violent behavior, and it is not a threat to society. Allowing the will of the voters to be fully enacted as intended will benefit both the people/patients, but also generate critical tax revenue coming from the licensed producers.
    We're going broke on the war on drugs--we need to focus on the ones that are causing the problems such as meth, crack and cocaine, not the ONE that isn't and won't.

     
  • DaveKAz posted at 1:24 am on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    DaveKAz Posts: 3

    The better that we get to know Brewer, Horne(y), Montgomery, and people like Kavanagh the less inclined I am to believe that they have anything other than their own barbaric and selfish self interest in mind when they perform their "duties." It is clear that they consider the words of the oaths they took to apply only to others and not to themselves. I'm not a big fan of federal intervention but realistically they may be the only ones who can save us from people like this.

     
  • GPicciuto posted at 8:16 pm on Tue, Jan 8, 2013.

    GPicciuto Posts: 1

    "...We need ones who may disagree, but understand what it means for the voters to speak and that it is their job to respect it, protect it and move on already."

    Thank you!

    Imagine if we had the courage to do that nation wide? What wouldn't we be capable of?

     
  • John J Flanagan posted at 6:46 pm on Tue, Jan 8, 2013.

    John J Flanagan Posts: 33

    The medical marijuana idea, known to both proponents and those against it, is nothing more than an open window and a strategy towards full legalization. Marijuana is, without question, a gateway drug to other recreational drugs. The Republicans are not the only ones opposing full implementation. The Federal government also has a bizarre and confusing array of rules and regulations which, when enforced, will further cloudy up the issue. The full legalization and implementation of the marijuana shops in our state will lead to numerous social issues, addictions, crime, and vehicular accidents, however, these issues rarely bother progressives, who readily look for another law to remedy social problems. In the long run, medical marijauna shops will result in unintended consequences and continue the downward spiral of our culture into the abyss of social decay.

     

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