Prop 203 'bad medicine' for Arizona - The Explorer: Editorials

Prop 203 'bad medicine' for Arizona

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Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:14 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

The article on "medical pot" in the Sept. 22 Explorer failed to inform its readers of several key provisions of Prop 203.

Although Prop 203 purports to provide marijuana as "medicine" for sick patients, its primary effect will be to establish a system where drug seekers, including addicts, can legally obtain recreational drugs and where commercial marijuana dispensaries will become storefronts for dope dealers.

Prop 203 does not require medical prescriptions from physicians. It permits naturopaths and homeopaths to "recommend" marijuana.

Prop 203 allows the use of marijuana by persons who are not seriously ill. Anyone, including minors, complaining of "severe, chronic pain" is eligible for medical marijuana, not just terminally or seriously ill persons or those with specific medical conditions.

Prop 203 authorizes the cultivation, sale and use of marijuana. It permits marijuana to be grown, both on and off-site, in unlimited quantities, at unregulated marijuana dispensaries.

The dispensaries are permitted in residential neighborhoods, next door to drug treatment centers, less than two blocks from any school, adjacent to daycare centers, libraries, parks, school bus stops, or any other place where children congregate.

Marijuana dispensaries can be operated by virtually anyone, including burglars, thieves and other convicted criminals. Dispensaries are not required to incorporate, so owners and operators can remain anonymous, and they are expressly exempt from income taxes.

Mix a lot of cash with a lot of drugs, add in no regulatory controls, and you have a prescription for disaster. Creating dispensaries with unlimited supplies of marijuana will fuel new levels of crime, violence and addiction.

Prop 203 specifically prohibits law enforcement from inspecting or searching their premises or records, and requires prior warning in the form of "reasonable notice" before any inspection by the Arizona Department of Health.

It's inconceivable that a schedule I controlled drug would be permitted to be sold at a facility not subject to inspection without warning. The state has more control over the sale of hamburgers.

Landlords and property owners may not refuse to rent to tenants who grow or use medical marijuana on their property.

Schools, colleges, professional and vocational programs may not refuse to enroll marijuana cardholders.

Employers may not discriminate in hiring, terminating or imposing discipline or any other condition of employment against registered cardholders, even with a positive drug test for marijuana, unless they can prove that the employee was actually impaired on the job during work hours.

Courts may no longer take drug use into consideration when determining custody, visitation or parenting time as long as the parent is a registered marijuana cardholder. And there is no presumption of child endangerment or neglect for any conduct permitted by Prop 203, such as smoking, cultivating, buying or selling marijuana.

If marijuana is considered "medicine," then patients should have to get it the same way they get other medicines – with prescriptions from physicians. It should undergo rigorous clinical trials, be FDA tested and approved, and dispensed at pharmacies by licensed pharmacists, and not be home-grown and home- cultivated by anyone operating an unregulated marijuana dispensary.

Opponents of Prop 203 also have a website at www.KeepAZDrugFree.com.

Prop 203 is bad medicine for Arizona. Vote "No" on Prop 203.

Barbara LaWall is the Pima County Attorney.

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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