Medical marijuana has its own maladies

In 2011, Arizona voters passed Proposition 203, a medical marijuana bill that was supposed to allow the cultivation, sale and use of medical marijuana by patients for whom it was deemed appropriate by a medical authority. Now, a year later, thanks to the ignorance of Arizona’s legislature, the bill has failed to come to fruition.

The Arizona legislature opposes the bill, claiming that the parameters it sets up are too “vague,” which in turn is a vague argument in and of itself. But as the bill was passed anyway, a citizen of Arizona can legally obtain a medical marijuana license.

They can cultivate the plant in their own homes, they can smoke it and possess it, but they absolutely cannot sell it for profit. Think about that — you’re allowed to have medical marijuana, just make sure you never buy it.

California has full-blown marijuana dispensaries, which work just fine, but here, “compassion clubs” have opened for business in the gray area of legality. If you’re a licensed patient, go right in, make a small “donation” and walk out with a “free gift.” In this way, compassion clubs never “sell” marijuana — their slogan is “patients helping patients.” This is all too preposterous.

Arizona voters passed the bill, so it shouldn’t even be up for debate. It’s as simple as that — it’s democracy.

A few weeks ago, The State Press ran a story that described a student living in Hassayampa Village who was caught by her community assistants for the use and possession of medical marijuana. The ASU police arrived on the scene, handcuffs ready, but were thwarted when the student presented her medical marijuana license. Shawn Raymundo reported, “police were unable to arrest the woman for marijuana possession because she wasn’t breaking any state law — only University policy.” The Hassayampa resident said, “I’m a student, I get good grades. I medically smoke marijuana. It’s prescribed to me, and it’s not fair that they’re not going to let me.”

Of anyone, students have the most to lose. University laws differ from state laws, as do medical and recreational purposes of marijuana usage. This is where this distinction needs to be made. Appropriate policy that does not criminalize citizens and students for medical usage needs to be put in place. Any student convicted of any drug charge is immediately and indefinitely barred from receiving any government financial aid.

Let’s try to follow that logic: Student gets caught smoking pot, student can’t find a good job with a felony on their record, student can’t afford school in order to get a good job, student resorts to dealing drugs to get by, student ends up in prison. Yes, now I see why it’s called “rehabilitation.” A more appropriate term would be “damnation.”

Trying to scare students into not using drugs has never worked.

Just last week, The State Press wrote that Rep. Bob Robson, R-Chandler, had said that, “he has found nothing to prove the medical benefits of marijuana,” which is the most inane statement I’ve read this year. Have you heard of Google? Use it. Maybe you’ll also learn that at one point in our nation’s history, hemp was a valuable cash crop and the Founding Fathers smoked the stuff habitually with each other. They’re rolling in their graves.

Reach the columnist at jwadler@asu.edu

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