Thursday, October 7, 2010

Prop. 203

Once again, the people of Arizona will attempt to legalize medical marijuana (it's been passed by the voters three of the four times it's been on the ballot, but courts have intervened) this November:

The 2010 Arizona election is looking once again, at a long held debate over the legalization of medical marijuana. If passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act would authorize the use of marijuana for individuals with medical conditions and written certification from a physician. Most controversial to the election outcome, is the fact that Prop 203 would establish a regulatory system under Arizona Department of Health Services to create and license medical marijuana dispensaries.

My views on this are quite clear: for humanitarian reasons, there should be no question about medical marijuana. Compassion demands that it should be legal. I can see a legitimate moral argument against recreational marijuana (I disagree, but I can see a valid debate), but it's a very different issue.

Of course, this being Arizona, there are some serious flaws with the law. For one, it's way too restrictive:

Unlike California, where it's possible to get a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana for almost any condition, only patients with a limited number of serious and debilitating conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's Disease, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS) will be able to acquire medical marijuana in Arizona.

It would not be an initiative that would implement any immediate and wide sweeping licensing, so it is not going to change anything over night. Nor will Arizona become like California in status over medical marijuana, as some conservatives fear might happen.

Still, I support 203 as a starting point. It will be interesting to see how the vote turns out.

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