Fox News: “Smoked pot? Want to go to war? No problem. As more states lessen or eliminate marijuana penalties, the Army is granting hundreds of waivers to enlist people who used the drug in their youth — as long as they realize they can’t do so again in the military. The number of waivers granted by the active-duty Army for marijuana use jumped to more than 500 this year from 191 in 2016. Three years ago, no such waivers were granted. The big increase is just one way officials are dealing with orders to expand the Army’s size.”
USA Today: “Nearly 24 million Americans, about 9.2% of the population, use illicit drugs, and marijuana use is steadily increasing. As the nation takes a softer stance on marijuana, more Americans are using the drug, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found. The nationwide survey made public Wednesday found that 7.3% of Americans 12 or older regularly used marijuana in 2012, up from 7% in 2011.”
Huffington Post: “In spite of what you may think, legal pot doesn’t just sell itself, marijuana’s marketers are finding. . . . The marketers said they’re finding much of the media industry remains hostile to pot businesses. Online search giant Google wants nothing to do with them, as do many newspaper publishers. Billboard operators are reluctant to offer them space. Even some pro-marijuana activists said they worry that an out-and-proud embrace of marijuana advertising could spark a reactionary backlash.
Examiner.com: “University of Arizona study shows little or no evidence that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for anxiety, migraines, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, a finding that could hinder efforts to expand the allowable uses for the drug in Arizona. The researchers, working on behalf of the state Department of Health Services, which oversees the state’s medical-marijuana program, reviewed dozens of scientific studies related to marijuana use for the four medical conditions and determined that most of the research was of little value in weighing the medicinal risks and benefits.”
See “DrugFacts: Is Marijuana Medicine?” that states: “the scientific evidence to date is not sufficient for the marijuana plant to gain FDA approval, and there are a number of reasons why”
Phoenix New Times: “THC and other cannabinoids, including CBD, ‘can act as direct anti-cancer agents in multiple types of cancer‘ both in laboratory cultures and in the human body, according to a 2010 article in the medical journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. The article goes on to relate that a study showed THC and CBD were successful in treating glioblastoma . . . . That study, conducted by researchers at California Pacific Medical Center Research and the University of California-San Francisco, was conducted in a lab and not on humans. It revealed that the combination of THC and CBD is more effective at fighting cancer than either compound alone, a finding that suggests the marijuana plant’s ingredients and oils may work together to produce beneficial medical results. . . . For millions of patients with cancer, chronic pain, and other maladies, the potential benefits of marijuana can’t be discounted. Many consider marijuana a wonder drug, and the list of ailments that scientists say it benefits is long.”
Seattle Times: “Conscious Care Cooperative has a solid footing in a growing industry, with three storefronts in Seattle and a loyal customer base. But for much of the last two years, the nonprofit medical-marijuana provider has lacked one business basic: steady access to a bank. The cooperative has bounced among five financial institutions, and four others rejected the cooperative outright, said CCC’s president, Nate Chrysler. In one case, a bank closed the account without notice. . . . Aaron Smith, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Cannabis Industry Association, estimates that half of dispensaries nationwide lack a bank account, which he blames on pressure from federal banking regulators. ‘It is a widespread problem that threatens the entire industry,’ he said. . . . in June, Holder deputy James Cole issued a memo warning that ‘those who engage in transactions involving the proceeds’ of marijuana sales ‘may be in violation of federal money-laundering statutes and other financial laws.”.”
Marijuana Policy Project: “Nearly Three-Quarters of Democrats Break with Administration Policy, Vote to Prevent Federal Agencies from Targeting Individuals in Compliance with State Medical Marijuana Laws. Democrats in the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve an amendment to the FY 2013 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations bill late Tuesday that would effectively end the ability of federal agencies to enforce federal marijuana laws against individuals who are in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. The amendment stated that federal agencies may not use any funds to target individuals in states with medical marijuana laws, as long as those people are following the laws of their respective states. This amendment, which was debated five times last decade, was reintroduced after an increase in federal actions against state-legal medical marijuana providers throughout the country over the last year.”
Keep AZ Drug-Free recently announced its intent to place a Prop 203 repeal measure on the ballot next November. Following the ancient wisdom of “know(ing) thy enemy”, advocates should learn who belongs to this group in order to effectively fight the effort to reinstate prohibition. Do these members have a vested interest in making nearly fifteen thousand peaceful Arizonans into criminals, or are they merely well-meaning individuals under the influence of seventy years of anti-cannabis propaganda?
For our purposes, two other good questions are: who among them simply doesn’t (yet) understand the many palliative benefits of marijuana? And, is it possible that at least some of them might favorably respond to a more-informed perspective? Based on my experience with various elected officials and other opinion leaders, the answer is “yes”. So, if you know any of these folks, see if you can meet with them to break through the myths and misinformation that have fostered their bias.
Helpfully, the Keep AZ Drug Free website (www.keepazdrugfree.com) provides the names of the organization’s members. Below are the “Steering” and “Advisory” committee members, along with “Law Enforcement” and “Political Leaders”. Visit the website to see lists of “Community Leaders” and “Concerned Citizens”.
Leaders Against 203
- Carolyn Short, retired lawyer — KeepAZDrugFree Chairman
- Steven A. Betts, former CEO of SunCor Development
- Michael J. Bidwill, President of the Arizona Cardinals
- Paul K. Charlton, former U.S. Attorney, now a partner with Gallagher & Kennedy
- Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of USA Basketball
- Ed Gogek, M.D., clinical psychiatrist and addiction recovery specialist
- Doug Hebert, ex-DEA agent, now with The Partnership for a Drug-Free America
- Michael K. Kennedy, Chairman of the Super Bowl Host Committee
- David P. Kimball III, partner with Gallagher & Kennedy
- Debbie Moak, founder of notMYkid, a nonprofit organization
- Len Munsil, lawyer and former gubernatorial candidate
- Steve Twist, corporate general counsel, former Chief Asst. Attorney General of AZ
- Darrell D. Wadas, M.D., Director of Medicine at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital
- Claren Scott, former news anchor
- Jessica Smith, director of SADD/Arizona
- Leland Fairbanks, M.D., family practitioner and smoke-free workplace advocate
- Alex Romero, board member of Drug Watch International
- Susan Engle, high school guidance counselor
- Dr. Mark Rohde, clinical psychologist and substance abuse specialist
- Peg Kimball, community activist
- Sean McMaster, political consultant
- Eric Wnuck, former Congressional candidate
- Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Sheriff
- Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police
- Rick Romley, Maricopa County Attorney
- Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney
- Barbara LaWall, Pima County Attorney
- Brad Carlyon, Navajo County Attorney
- Alberto Gutier, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety
- Roger Vanderpool, Former Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety
- Governor Jan Brewer
- Attorney General Terry Goddard
- US Senator John McCain (AZ)
- US Senator Jon Kyl (AZ)
- US Congressman John Shadegg (AZ-3)
- Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne (Candidate for Attorney General)
- State Senator Steve Pierce (LD-1)
- State Senator Sylvia Allen (LD-5)
- State Representative and House Majority Whip Andy Tobin (LD-1)
- State Senator Jack Harper (LD-4)
- State Senator Russell Pearce (LD-18)
- State Representative Cecil Ash (LD-18)
- State Representative Thayer Verschoor (LD-18)
- State Senator Amanda Aguirre (LD-24)
- David Schweikert, Candidate for Congress (AZ-5)
- Ben Quayle, Candidate for Congress (AZ-3)
- Candidate for Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery
- Pinal County Supervisor, Bryan Martyn
- Jo Kelleher, Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman & Former LD-1 Senate Candidate
- Rick Gray, LD-9 House Candidate
- Bob Donahue, LD-1 Senate Candidate
- Lindsay Bell, LD-1 House Candidate
- Karen Fann, LD-1 House Candidate and former Chino Valley Mayor
- Eric Sheats, Former LD-4 House Candidate
- Prescott Winslow, LD-5 Candidate for State House
- Michael Coskun, Former LD-7 House Candidate
- Dr. Ray Mahoubi, Former LD-8 House Candidate
- Ben Arredondo, State House Candidate in LD-17
- Jim Waring, Former State Senator
- Deb Gullett, Former State Representative
- Clark Silver, Candidate for Agua Fria School Board
- Jon Jensen, Former Candidate for Congressional District One
- Jay Schlum, Mayor of Fountain Hills
Recently I wrote that if you are in the MMJ field, you are also, by default, in politics, for nothing is more political than medical marijuana. Whether you a true believer in cannabis or entered the industry just to make a buck, you have a vested interest in helping to protect the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act against the attacks that are sure to come in 2012.
In a multi-part series over the next few weeks I will describe the challenges facing Arizona’s MMJ movement, offer a list of achievable goals, and suggest proactive steps community members can take, either individually or in groups, in order to reach those goals. Our success depends upon our efforts.
[Note] Although many know me as an insurance agent providing coverage for compassion clubs and grows, in a former life I worked ten years for an elected official. My political experience also includes advising local and state candidates and non-profit lobbying. From these experiences I learned that even underdogs can win – but only if they are in the game.
Doug Banfelder is a commercial insurance specialist with Premier Southwest Insurance Group, ranked a Top-Twentyfive Brokerage by Phoenix Business Journal in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Medical Marijuana is a remarkable mashup of public policy, hardball politics and popular culture. These characteristics make it rewarding, challenging, sometimes scary and oftentimes frustrating – and it will be so for the foreseeable future.
Those close to the issue, either as patients or businesspeople, know very well how political it all is. We have seen that what the ballot box giveth, elected officials gone rogue can quickly take away. Clearly, anti-Prop 203 leaders Carolyn Short, Edward Gogek, et al won’t rest until the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is undone, with many observers expecting a repeal effort aimed at the November 2012 ballot.
And yet… the clinics are open, patients and caregivers are getting cards, and many of the businesses that sprang up (or adapted) to serve the envisioned dispensaries hang on, determined to outlast prohibitionists’ efforts to create doubt among the public via governmental meddling and slanted media coverage.
So what should be our response? The answer is simple, but not easy. What’s needed is a proactive grassroots strategy: registering voters, lobbying State and local elected officials, targeted, well-crafted public relations campaigns, and more, all with the goal of moving public acceptance well beyond original Prop 203 levels. It can be done.
The Arizona Republic has apparently decided not to print this rebuttal to “addiction psychiatrist” and marijuana prohibitionist Ed Gogek’s “My Turn” editorial that appeared in the paper on 8/4/11.
In an effort to sow the seeds of public confusion, marijuana prohibitionist Edward Gogek employs tired rhetoric about “drug abusers” and “recreational use” (My Turn, August 4) while conveniently ignoring the truth about medical marijuana and the patients who benefit from it.
First, he complains that most medical marijuana (“MMJ”) patients cite pain as their reason for seeking a state card. Yes, pain is the predominant ailment cited, but what does this prove? Many experience the “aches and pains” of advancing age – and almost 40% of MMJ patients are over fifty.
Might it be that people suffering from daily pain simply prefer a natural herbal remedy to those manufactured in a lab? If one can choose between a drug with pleasant side affects verses those with adverse consequences, which is the more logical choice?
Mr. Gogek also makes much of the fact that most MMJ patients are men, while women generally claim pain more often to their doctors. To strengthen his thesis he adds the assertion that substance abuse is primarily a male disorder, and concludes that since more men than woman are currently Arizona MMJ patients, they must be using marijuana for purely recreational reasons.
Consider, however, the political and legal status of Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act: confusion reigns, thanks in part to the Governor and Attorney General’s federal lawsuit (to which federal lawyers have recently responded by filing a motion to dismiss for lack of legal merit) and generally negative local media coverage.
Is it really any surprise that qualifying women patients have not come forward in their true number, when seeking a patient card more resembles an act of defiance than the exercise of a perfectly legal right?
Prohibitionists such as Mr. Gogek want Arizona to go back to criminalizing these citizens and restricting their pain relief choices to expensive, addictive, synthetic medications. This is the conditioned response of someone under the influence of seventy years of anti-marijuana propaganda.
The failed, expensive and hypocritical “War on Drugs” incarcerates peaceful citizens at heavy social cost. Breaking up families and causing productive wage earners to lose their jobs simply for seeking relief from pain or other ailments is neither fair nor wise public policy.
The general public clearly understands this. Currently, twenty-five percent of Americans live in a state with medical marijuana programs, with more and more states considering such legislation.
Those who doubt that marijuana has medicinal value should speak with a patient; the range of conditions marijuana helps patients manage is truly astonishing, and must be why the pharmaceutical industry now has over fifty researchers attempting to isolate the plants’ active ingredients.
Attorney General Tom Horne has estimated that Arizona’s medical marijuana industry could generate $40 million annually in taxes; others say that it could be significantly more. The public supports adding a reasonable sales tax to medical marijuana. Arizona could certainly use the funds, and should allow patients their choice of medicine as provided by passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
Mr. Gogek could then return his focus to treating abusers of hard drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, oxycontin, hydrocodone and percocet. Medical Marijuana is a safe alternative to many over-prescribed pain relievers; as such, it should be welcomed by those professing an interest in saving people from the ravages of drug abuse.
The Protect Arizona Patients Coalition urges the Arizona Republic to report objectively on the issue of medical marijuana. To do so requires only that its reporters talk with MMJ patients and their doctors. Many of our members would welcome that opportunity.
For the week ending at midnight February 20, 2011, this website had 4,744 visitors, a new weekly record.
The number of readers of this website continues to grow. For the week ending February 12, 2011, we had 4,654, a new weekly record for this website that was born only 45 days ago. Thanks to all who visit.
As of February 12, 2011, our visitors can subscribe to get daily email messages that keep subscribers up to date on the latest articles and posts added to Arizona Medical Marijuana Law. Please subscribe to get our free daily email updates.
We added a message forum to this website. Its purpose is to create an on-going dialogue among people who are interested in obtaining a license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary, prospective medical directors and others who are interested in Arizona’s newest industry.
The forum is new so we need your help to get it going. We hope that the forum will be a place that people can discuss industry issues, including various aspects of the proposed Arizona Department of Health Services rules. Please leave one or more messages. The more people who participate the more we will all learn. Please take a minute or two to leave a message by clicking on the Message Forum link on the far right of the top menu. If nobody uses the forum, I’ll kill it.
Thanks again to all who visit this site. Yesterday 1,055 visitors came to this site, which is a new daily record. The week ending Sunday, February 6, 2011, set a weekly record with 3,576 visitors.
Beware of Seminars about Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Law If the Speakers are Chosen Because They Pay the Sponsor a Fee Rather Than Because of their Knowledge
A representative of an organization that is sponsoring a public meeting ostensibly to educate people about Arizona’s new medical marijuana laws invited me to be a speaker at the event, but only if I paid a fee for the privilege. I declined. I am happy to speak for free to large groups about topics on which I am knowledgeable, but I don’t want to be associated with events whose priority is to make money rather than educate. Speakers should be chosen based on their knowledge, not on whether they pay the sponsor a fee. The reason speakers pay a fee to speak is because their primary purpose in speaking is to sell themselves and/or their products or services. I submit that the audience wants speakers whose primary purpose is to educate, not generate business. Before going to an educational event, ask the sponsor if the speakers are speaking for free or if they are speaking because they paid the sponsor a fee.
Thanks for your support. Yesterday this site had a new record number of visitors – 610. For the month of January 2011, we had 10,432 visitors to this brand new website.
The number of visitors to Arizona Medical Marijuana Law continues to grow. On January 24, 2011, we had 604 visitors, a new daily record. For the week ending at midnight on January 23, 2011, this site had 2,750 visitors. Not bad for its fourth week of existence.
Thanks for stopping by. Please send a link to this site at www.arizonamedicalmarijuanalaw.com to your friends and people who you think might have an interest in Arizona medical marijuana. Don’t forget to send suggestions for articles. If you have an original article you think would be of interest to our readers, please send it to me.
January 23, 2011, was the end of the fifth week since I started this website. The number of visitors continues to grow each week. For the week ending at midnight on January 23, 2011, this site had 2,750 visitors. Thanks to all who visit. If you have any suggestions for topics for articles, please send me a message.
Yesterday, January 20, 2011, this website had a new record number of daily visitors – 569. I started my Arizona medical marijuana law website on December 23, 2010, because I want to help people learn about legal issues affecting Arizona’s new industry. The number of viewers has climbed steadily since day one. Each of the last four days set a new daily record number of visitors. This site has had 6,836 visitors in the first 29 days its been online.
My website at www.keytlaw.com has had over 6,000,000 visitors since January 1, 2006, because it contains tons of useful information about Arizona and federal law. I currently have two other law websites. They are IRA LLC Law and the KEYTLaw Law Blog. I just started a new website called U.S. Real Estate Law, but it is not live yet. The purpose of the new site is to inform non-U.S. citizens about legal issues that arise when they want to purchase investment real estate in the United States.