ALERT: #462 Arizona Becomes 15th State to Approve Medical Marijuana



DrugSense FOCUS Alert #462 – Monday, November 15th, 2010

Today the article below was printed.

We call it to your attention not because of the source newspaper but
because few newspapers put their Associated Press articles on line.

Please watch your local newspapers for versions of this story as they
represent a letter writing opportunity.

Verified facts that may be of value in your letter writing are found

MAP posted articles specific to Proposition 203 are found at

Articles about medicinal cannabis are found at


Source: New York Times (NY)

Page: A14

Copyright: 2010 The Associated Press



PHOENIX (AP) — By a narrow margin, Arizona voters have approved
medical marijuana for people with chronic or debilitating diseases.

The decision makes Arizona the 15th state to have approved a medical
marijuana law. California was the first in 1996, and 13 other states
and the District of Columbia followed.

The ballot measure on the issue, Proposition 203, won by just 4,341
votes out of more than 1.67 million ballots counted, according to
final tallies announced on Saturday.

The approval came as something of a surprise. At one point on
Election Day, the measure trailed by about 7,200 votes. The gap
gradually narrowed until it edged ahead during counting on Friday.
The final tally was 841,346 in favor and 837,005 opposed.

“We really believe that we have an opportunity to set an example to
the rest of the country on what a good medical marijuana program
looks like,” said Andrew Myers, campaign manager for the Arizona
Medical Marijuana Policy Project.

The Arizona measure will allow patients with diseases including
cancer, AIDS, hepatitis C and any other “chronic or debilitating”
disease that meets guidelines to grow plants or to buy two and a half
ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

The patients must obtain a recommendation from their doctor and
register with the Arizona Department of Health Services. The law
allows for no more than 124 marijuana dispensaries in the state.

Backers of Proposition 203 argued that thousands of patients faced “a
terrible choice” of suffering with a serious or even terminal illness
or going to the criminal market for marijuana. They collected more
than 252,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot, nearly
100,000 more than required.

The measure was opposed by all of Arizona’s sheriffs and county
prosecutors, the governor, the state attorney general and many other

Carolyn Short, chairwoman of Keep AZ Drug Free, the group that
organized opposition to the initiative, said her group believed that
the law would increase crime around dispensary locations, lead to
more people driving while impaired and eventually lead to legalized
marijuana for everyone.

She said that the major financial backer of the new measure, the
Marijuana Policy Project, based in Washington, makes its ultimate
goal clear: national legalization.

“All of the political leaders came out and warned Arizonans that this
was going to have very dire effects on a number of levels,” Ms. Short
said after votes for the measure pulled into the lead late Friday. “I
don’t think that all Arizonans have heard those dire predictions.”