VOL. 19  ISSUE NO. 3   |   JANUARY 16 – 22, 2013


Voters may get do-over on medical marijuana

These statistics weren’t lost on Kavanagh, who learned one in nine school kids who smoke marijuana acquire it illegally from cardholders
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john kavanaghPHOENIX – Voters passed Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), by a slim margin of 4,340 out of almost 1.7 million votes cast in 2010.

However, now that the AMMA has gone into effect, Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, deems the program a failure and would like to give voters the opportunity to repeal the law.

Kavanagh has pre-filed House Concurrent Resolution 2003, which, if he receives 31 votes in the House and 16 votes in the Senate, the matter can be placed back on the ballot for possible repeal by voters.

Through Nov. 7, 2012, there were 33,601 qualifying patients, with 27,794 people authorized to cultivate.

The largest single group of qualified patients was in the 18 to 30 years old category at 8,894, 80 percent of which were males.

Overall, males comprised nearly 73 percent of the qualifying patients.

Qualifying patients may obtain up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

And, while voters were led to believe the AMMA would provide relief to people suffering from cancer, glaucoma and several other specific ailments, the demographics of AMMA cardholders paints a very different picture.

Only 3.76 percent of the qualifying patients have cancer and 1.53 percent has glaucoma.
However, 89.8 percent have what is categorized simply as “chronic pain.”

Caregivers are also overwhelmingly male.

The report indicates 17 percent of the cardholders applied through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), the federal food stamp program. Again this group is overwhelmingly male at 68 percent.

These statistics weren’t lost on Kavanagh, who learned one in nine school kids who smoke marijuana acquire it illegally from cardholders.

Kavanagh also didn’t find it a big surprise that cardholders, who can legally obtain nearly two kilos of the drug per year, are selling or giving some of it away.

Additional information prepared by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, revealed one in six high school students received alcohol from a parent or guardian and nearly 30 percent of those who used prescription drugs to get high, stated they got their drugs from the medicine cabinets in their homes.

Kavanagh said he believes the state should work toward shutting off the supply of marijuana, which is still a federally controlled substance, and crack down on parents who make alcohol and other substances more available to children.

Because the AMMA was approved by voters through the initiative process, the only way to change or repeal the law is to refer it back to the voters.

While Kavanagh was the sole sponsor of the bill as of this printing, he believes he has enough support to get the repeal on the ballot.

It’s difficult to gauge, however, whether there’s been any shift in voter opinion to repeal the law.

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