Prop 203 – Know Your Opponents

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

Steering Committee:

  • 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

Advisory Committee:

  • 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

Law Enforcement

  • 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

Political Leaders:

  • 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
By |2015-04-06T18:52:32-07:00November 6th, 2011|Miscellaneous|Comments Off on Prop 203 – Know Your Opponents

The Radical Minority

[The following was the basis for Doug Banfelder’s comments at last week’s Prop 203 Solidarity meeting.]

Medical Marijuana – Supported by the Majority, Under Attack by a Radical Minority

Who here feels like a Radical Tonight?!  Its easy to feel that way while we’re under attack – but consider this – We are Actually the MAJORITY!

Tonight as we meet we face an organized, energized opposition.  U.S. Attorneys have been unleashed by the DOJ, dispensaries raided, letters threatening legal action against property owners, and IRS harassment of dispensaries is escalating, despite the good faith efforts of most canna businesses to comply with often ambiguous state laws, or, as with the IRS, rules that are blatantly discriminatory and unjust.  That’s radical!

At the state and local level, anyone engaged in the production or distribution end of medical marijuana is feeling the heat. Governor Brewer and Attorney General Horne’s federal suit for a declaratory judgement is certain to be dismissed, but the intended result, confusion, has been achieved.  That’s radical!

We’ve all heard reports that local police seemingly don’t know which parts of the AMMA remain in place, putting patients at risk.  Caregivers must either grow in their homes or in commercial buildings, making them subject to the not altogether unfounded fears of building owners concerned that their property may be seized.  County Attorneys seek every opportunity to keep the prohibition machine in place, stubbornly continuing the failed “tough on crime” approach.  That’s radical!

Why is all this going on?  The only logical answer can be this: our opponents know that we are winning the public debate, and that our success WILL bring about the end of marijuana prohibition.  Consider: 25% of the American people live in states that have approved Medical Marijuana laws; we have an unprecedented level of support in the United States Congress, with three bills recently introduced; and, a Gallup poll just revealed that a majority of Americans, for the first time ever, support the full legalization of cannabis.  And, as a MAJORITY of Arizonans voted to approve Prop 203 last November proves, WE are NOT the radical ones!

No, we are the MAJORITY.  This means the best way to fight back is from WITHIN the system.  It’s how Prop 203 got passed, right?  So then how do we get from here to where we want to be?  Several things have to happen, and starting RIGHT NOW is not too soon.

Lets begin by agreeing that our opponents are a RADICAL MINORITY, and that we are part of a MAJORITY that approved Prop 203.

Second, we all must be registered to vote and know who our State Representatives are.  Every legislative district has two members of the House and one Senator.

Third, all of us, especially those patients who are able, need to contact their legislators and say “I’m a medical marijuana patient/caregiver/businessperson, and I request (not “ask”) that you support continued patient access to the medicine that works best for me/my patients.”

It does not matter that legislators cannot undo Prop 203 (due to the Voter Protection Act); we need to understand that so far, their opinions have been formed by conversations with people like Drug Free AZ leaders Carolyn Short and addiction psychiatrist Edward Gogek – a minority of prohibitionist RADICALS who want to make AZ patients into criminals!

Always keep in mind that lobbyists and business interests drive the dialogue at the legislature.  And that the legislature CAN kill 203 with “death by a thousand cuts.”  Remember Rep. Steve Farley’s bill from last session to tax MMJ 300%?  We must eliminate that kind of threat by letting our House and Senate members know how we feel NOW, BEFORE they run bad bills that put us on the defense.  They respond to pressure, so it is up to ALL of us, THE MAJORITY, here in this room tonight!

We know the awesome powers of cannabis; we know that History is on OUR side; and we know that by committing to pulling together, we will win this public policy debate over the RADICAL MINORITY who oppose WE the MAJORITY.

So let’s act like the MAJORITY we ARE by getting all Prop 203 supporters registered to vote, contacting our Representatives, and working together to overcome the Governor and AG’s attacks – we CAN have America’s BEST MMJ program, guarantee patient access to medicine, create business opportunity for growers, property owners and dispensary operators and earn the respect we deserve as a MAJORITY of everyday Arizonans supporting medical marijuana.

By |2011-11-01T07:09:30-07:00October 30th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on The Radical Minority