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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Survey Says, It's Time to Help Patients

By Ron Crumpton

PHOENIX, Arizona – A new poll shows that a majority of Arizonians support Prop 203 and they outnumber those opposed by 19 percent.

Pollster Earl de Berge found that 52 percent of Arizonians support the proposition, while 33 percent are opposed. This leaves 15 percent of voters undecided.

This is great news for advocates of Prop 203. Generally, when there are a high number of undecided voters this close to an election, many of the undecided have made their decision but they are embarrassed by the way, they plan to vote.

This could also be a good indication for advocates because the reasonable conclusion is that those who are embarrassed about how they intend to vote are uncomfortable admitting that they are voting for medical marijuana. With a measure like this, those who are opposed or plan to oppose the proposition are quick to tell you.

This is a good for patients because the Arizona initiative addresses many of the problems that patients in other medical marijuana states have had to address.

First, the measure states that employers cannot terminate or discipline patients based solely on a drug test.

In order to chastise their employees, employers would have to prove that a worker was impaired or had consumed marijuana during work hours. This is a great first step, but it leaves a lot be desired.

There is no uproar about patients being impaired by prescription painkillers or other chemical medications that mar ones judgment much more that marijuana. Patients who consume medical marijuana for their illness should not have to meet a higher standard than other patients do.

Many patients need their medicine regularly to be able to work and are not “impaired” by taking their medicine because they have developed a tolerance to much of the euphoria. The same thing is true with prescription drugs, they get the patient high initially, but over time, those effects become less prominent.

Second, the measure places a reasonable number on dispensaries. 

With passage of the law, there will be approximately 125 dispensaries in the state and people who do not live within 25 miles of a dispensary will be able to grow their own.
This provides for patients to have reasonable access to their medicine, but it does limit some of the rights that they have fought for.

Many people, who take marijuana medicinally, do so because they are sensitive to what goes in their body. For them growing their own herbs is essential because they want to assert their right to control what goes into their body and for them how the marijuana is grown is just as important as the use of natural medicine itself.

Third, it protects doctors.

The medical marijuana laws that have been approved by voters in the past required a prescription instead of a recommendation. If a physician prescribes marijuana, he can have his or her prescription writing privileges revoked by the DEA, but the doctor can recommend the medicine without facing federal action.

Finally, it will finally give Arizonians the right to use the medicine they need.

This will be the third time that medical marijuana has been passed by ballot measure in Arizona. The first time was in 1996, yet it is still being denied to patients. This bill would end this injustice.

Arizona stands to make a big statement nationwide, when it comes to the issue of the rights of medical marijuana patients. The message is that even after all the bullshit and 14 years of having their vote ignored; medical marijuana patients do not give up.

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