MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: And speaking on the pro side of 203, is Andrew Myers, Treasurer for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project Supporting Proposition 203.
MR. ANDREW MYERS: Proposition 203 is about protecting seriously and terminally ill patients from arrest and prosecution. Right now, there are already thousands of patients all across Arizona , who are already using marijuana with their doctor's recommendation, and these patients face a terrible choice. They must either continue to suffer with severe and debilitating medical symptoms from a serious or even terminal disease, or they have to go to the criminal market, putting themselves, and in many cases, their family members at risk for felony prosecution.
Arizona is unique in that possession of any amount of marijuana can be prosecuted as a felony in our state. And the risks don't stop with arrests. On the streets, patients must deal with criminals to acquire product of unknown origins, which may contain mold or pesticides, or be laced with other drugs. And unfortunately, in Arizona , much of the marijuana supplied to the criminal market, comes from Mexican Drug Cartels. So under current law, these patients are unwittingly lining the pockets of some of the world's worst criminals.
Prop 203 will allow patients safe, reliable and legal access to medication, that for many, can be life saving. Our proposal is restrictive and common sense. Unlike states like California , where there is no statewide regulation of the medical marijuana industry, our proposal limits medical marijuana access to seriously and terminally ill patients with a defined list of medical conditions.
It also limits the number of dispensaries to 124 statewide. So we will not have an overwhelming number of facilities that places like Los Angeles have.
Also unlike other states, the cultivation, distribution of the medication, will be tightly controlled. All marijuana in the system must be drawn by licensed dispensaries, and any diversion of marijuana to an individual who is not a registered patient, will be prosecuted as a Class 2 Felony, punishable up to 25 years of prison. The same as manslaughter.
Our Opponents will raise red haring arguments regarding such things as employment issues used by minors. But the simple truth is, that our law puts far greater restrictions on the use of marijuana than exist for far more addictive and dangerous medications, like narcotic painkillers that are freely and legitimately prescribed by physicians every day.
Patients should not be prosecuted for following their doctor's advice. A vote for Prop 203 is a vote for patient's rights.