Arizona 15th State to Legalize Medical Marijuana
The old Southwest has joined other states with the legalization of medical marijuana. However the counting was not so quick to draw as it took more than a week to count the votes that pushed Proposition 203 into a yes vote. Arizona is now the 15th state to legalize medical marijuana. The race was tight winning by a very narrow margin of just 4,341 votes.
"I see this as a threat to the quality of life in Arizona," Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk said of the new law. However, Arizona voters do not agree with Polk. People could start applying for medical marijuana cards as early as early April which is the soonest that dispensaries could get approvals to grow marijuana. State Health Director Will Humble estimated it would summer before they are dispensing marijuana.
"If we have a loose interpretation of what a doctor patient relationship is or if we don't identify definitively in our administrative code what that entails then you could end up in situations like they have in Colorado where folks are walking into a doctor's office and for a 15 minute appointment and 150 bucks on the barrel head, they're walking away with a recommendation," says Humble who wants to be sure people can't just don't search out doctor's who's an easy yes for medical marijuana.
"If we could get the blessing of the D-E-A to be able to keep it here and dispense it appropriately then we would do all the background checks on the patients, and make sure the patient that's coming in to get the medical marijuana is a legitimate patient." Humble says, "The reason that's important is cause if you don't go through that tracking process then you have the ability of folks using a cultivation facility and a licensed facility that we've licensed and having some of that inventory go out the back door and onto the street."
"Voters in Arizona have sided with science and compassion while dealing yet another blow to our nation's cruel and irrational prohibition on marijuana," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "Arizona's law now reflects the mainstream public opinion that seriously ill people should not be treated like criminals if marijuana can provide them relief, and that doctors should be able to recommend marijuana to patients if they believe it can help alleviate their suffering," Kampia said.
Medical marijuana has proven to be helpful with a variety of medical issues such as cancer, AIDS, chronic pain and other illnesses and provides relief for pain and suffering patients.