Medical marijuana supporters rally against plan for new vote
For Brian Anapol, medical marijuana helps manage the pain from dozens of tumors caused by a hereditary disease.
“I got the card six months ago and it cut my pain medication intake in half,” Anapol said. “The pills make me sick; the marijuana makes me grounded.”
On Thursday, he joined a few dozen others rallying outside the State Capitol against legislation calling for a new statewide vote on medical marijuana.
“I’m not an outlaw. I’m not a criminal, I just want to be well,” said Anapol, who lives in Phoenix.
Glendale resident Rick Kline, who uses medical marijuana to treat pain from spinal injuries suffered when he was dragged by a truck, called it “crazy” that some politicians are trying to do away with the system.
“A few years ago, I was so whacked out on pills I didn’t even know my own name,” he said. “They had me on 20 pills in the morning and 18 at night for the pain, psychiatric problems and the side effects.”
The main subject of the protest was Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who authored a resolution that would put medical marijuana back on the ballot. Voters narrowly approved it in 2010.
In an interview, Kavanagh said he applauds the demonstrators for bringing their concerns to the Capitol but disagrees with their stance. He noted that a state breakdown of medical marijuana cardholders found that about 90 percent reported chronic pain as a qualifying condition, which he said is difficult to disprove and suggests abuse.
He also cited an Arizona Criminal Justice Commission report that said 11 percent of kids caught with the drug said they got it from medical marijuana cardholders.
“Since its passage, the Medical Marijuana Act morphed into something else,” Kavanagh said.
Kavanagh’s HCR 2003 hadn’t been assigned to a committee.
Tom Dean, legal director for Phoenix NORML, a group that advocates for medical marijuana, said another vote would be a waste of money and would have no chance of passing.
“What you’re seeing is a big disconnect between Arizona’s elected lawmakers and those who elected them,” he said.