Arizona Secretary of State - Ken Bennett


 
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Proposition 203 - Video Transcript

Introduction

PROPOSITION 203, MEDICAL USE OF MARIJUANA

MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: Up next is Proposition 203.

SECRETARY OF STATE KEN BENNETT: A yes vote on Proposition 203 will have the effect of authorizing the use of marijuana for people with debilitating medical conditions, who obtain a written certification from a physician, and establishing a regulatory system, governed by the Arizona Department of Health Services, for establishing and licensing medical marijuana dispensaries.

A no vote shall have the effect of retaining current law regarding the use of marijuana.


"For"
Arguments

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.


"Against" Arguments

MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: Thank you, very much. Bill Montgomery is opposed to Proposition 203. Bill is a Representative of Keep AZ Drug Free.

MR. BILL MONTGOMERY: Arizona voters should not just vote no on Proposition 203. They should vote hell no. We are tired of being a lab for social experiments, and this is just one more measure where an out-of-state drug lobby has dumped $600 hundred thousand dollars into our state, in an effort to set conditions for the future legalization of drugs.

What does Prop 203 really do? It creates a protected class of drug user that would inhibit the ability of employers to ensure that they have a drug free workplace, a place safe for people to work in.

It also would inhibit the ability of law enforcement to successfully investigate drug-impaired drivers. Prop 203 would also allow for dispensaries to be established within 200 yards of an elementary school. It also would allow a dispensary not just to cultivate or grow marijuana at that location, but also one other location.

Ultimately, you would have more marijuana grown out of those two locations than could legitimately be expected to be used by the small percentage of terminally ill patients in Arizona , who might, who might have a therapeutic result from using it. And let's not make any mistake here. The list of illnesses that could be used to qualify for recommendation, is not restricted. A toothache could get you a recommendation for marijuana. A bad back. Lumbago. Wearing high heels all day. These are the very sorts of conditions that have permitted people in other states to get a “recommendation” for marijuana.

And it is not a medicine-based product. You are getting a recommendation from a doctor. You're not getting a prescription. You're not getting it from a pharmacy. You're getting it from a dispensary.

And let's look at those states that have been polled into a passing measure such as this. In California , where just within the last year, you've had three different dispensaries involved in murders, because of the criminal element that gets invited in the neighborhoods.

We should say no on 203. No on 203 for our kids, for our communities. Keep Arizona drug free.


 
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KEN BENNETT
Arizona Secretary of State

© September 2010