Here’s a prayer that all of those in the Cannabis Industry should all keep in our hearts and silently say every day:
Lord, save us from all those uniformed public servants who act without thinking, who jump without looking, and who cause so much harm from their inability to stop and think first before they do something. May they better understand how their actions can cause great pain and hurt people they have sworn to help.”
I know, I know — maybe you aren’t big on praying, but perhaps it is the only thing you can do to try to stop the over zealous and misguided of our elected officials.
Last week, according to a report in the Phoenix New Times weekly, Arizona State Representative Jay Lawrence decided to withdraw his bill that many felt could have destroyed Arizona’s medical marijuana program.
As the newspaper noted, “Lawrence’s bill, HCR 2019, would have stripped naturopaths and homeopaths of the right to recommend medical marijuana, even though those doctors write nearly 90 percent of the recommendations. His plan also called for patients to renew their cards every six months instead of every year, paying double the annual fees.”
Lawrence, who just last week claimed that medical marijuana is a “threat to society,” public safety and children, told The Arizona Republic that he changed his mind about the legislation after his office was crushed by phone calls and emails from the public.
“I was wrong,” he told the state’s largest newspaper. “There is enforcement of the law with regard to dispensing medical marijuana prescriptions. There is a great deal of care given to the dispensing of medical marijuana.”
But here’s the kicker: the newspaper also said State Representative Lawrence “would not share the identities of people who encouraged the legislation and anecdotes that the (medical marijuana) program was being misused.”
So here’s my question: Why would a state legislator be so quick to push legislation when there is so much evidence, particularly in Arizona, that the medical marijuana program is working and working well to help a great many sick people who need it?
The Phoenix New Times report says that Arizona currently has about 90,000 (yes, you read that right) patients qualified to use and possess marijuana for medical reasons, including chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, cancer, and AIDS, under the voter-approved 2010 law. About 75 percent of the patients are 31 or older and about two-thirds are men, according to the Arizona Department of Health Service’s 2015 annual report.
As New Times reported last week, more than 19 tons of cannabis products were purchased from state dispensaries in 2015 by patients, bringing the stores about $215 million in revenue and enriching the state treasury by $22 million, including from sales tax and fees collected from dispensaries and patients.
And, as the newspaper also noted, “The bill proposed by state Representative Jay Lawrence … would all but end the program, if approved.”
Lawrence backed down because the pro-cannabis forces circled the wagons and rallied the troops.
Hundreds of people called his office — Lawrence says he talked to 30-40 of them — and the Arizona Dispensary Association planned a protest rally at the State Capitol this week as well. The rally is going to go on as planned on Wednesday, although the Dispensary Association doesn’t expect as many people to turn out now that the immediate threat has passed.
Still, the scary part of this is how one clearly uninformed state legislator can push a bill ahead that can impact 90,000 medical cannabis patients without any real information to support it, or, concern for the tens of thousands of medical users who would be impacted.
That’s why anyone who cares about legal cannabis, particularly of the medical variety, needs to not only pray, but to stay vigilant in the face of idiot legislators who are all too willing to do the bidding of the opponents of legal marijuana without any concern about the consequences.
These are the kinds of fight the Cannabis Industry needs to fight, one at a time, state by state, and community by community, if REAL cannabis prohibition is to become a reality.
You can say a little prayer for that, too.