Arizona has an interesting history with medical marijuana laws.
65% of Arizona voters support removing criminal penalties for the medical use of marijuana, according to a February 2009 poll. And voters have already passed medical marijuana initiatives twice in the state, in 1996 and 1998. Unfortunately, due to a technical error in the wording of these laws, they have failed to effectively protect medical marijuana patients from arrest.The November initiative would fix these problems.
- Allow terminally and seriously ill patients who find relief from marijuana to use it with their doctors’ approval.
- Protect these seriously ill patients from arrest and prosecution for the simple act of taking their doctor-recommended medicine.
- Permit qualifying patients or their caregivers to legally purchase their medicine from tightly regulated clinics, as they would any other medicine -- so they need not purchase it from the criminal market.
- Permit qualifying patients or their caregivers to cultivate their own marijuana for medical use if a regulated medical marijuana clinic is not located within 25 miles of the qualifying patient.
- Create registry identification cards, so that law enforcement officials could easily tell who was a registered patient, and establish penalties for false statements and fraudulent ID cards.
- Allow patients and their caregivers who are arrested to discuss their medical use in court.
- Keep commonsense restrictions on the medical use of marijuana, including prohibitions on public use of marijuana and driving under the influence of marijuana.
Working on this campaign is an amazing opportunity for students throughout the state. Currently there are SSDP chapters at Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University but if you are a student at another Arizona school please consider starting a chapter of SSDP and help bring effective medical marijuana legislation to Arizona. If you know any students at Arizona schools, please tell them about SSDP.