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 Truth About Medical Marijuana

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.

By |2012-01-14T16:53:13-07:00August 11th, 2011|Miscellaneous|Comments Off on The Truth About Medical Marijuana