Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
State Capitol News

State Legislature Continues To Debate Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana patients and dispensary owners blasted a state legislative proposal this week to force yet another reconsideration of whether voters really want to keep the drug legal for patients. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

Voters approved medical marijuana plans in 1996 and 1998 - both of which had legal flaws preventing them from taking effect. They also approved it a third time in 2010. The proposal by Rep. John Kavanagh would put the issue back on the ballot again next year. The move angered retired attorney Jim Dyer who uses the drug to treat his multiple sclerosis. He said of the proposal, "that's insulting to me. And it should be insulting to the rest of the voters in Arizona. There's no reason for a repeal of anything else."

Dyer went on to say that other alternatives have not worked for him, "I've tried all the muscle relaxants they make and prescribe for multiple sclerosis. The problem with the conventional muscle relaxants is if you get a dose that's high enough to control the muscle spasm, you also can't walk anymore because your muscles are so relaxed."

But, Rep. Kavanagh, watching on the sidelines, believes this kind of anecdotal evidence is irrelevant, saying, "we look to science. We look to the FDA, the DEA, the AMA. We look to major medical organizations that do legitimate studies. When they say it's safe and it works, then we allow it to be sold. We don't let people on their own dose themselves with heroin, marijuana, or arsenic or anything."

No date has been set for a hearing on Kavanagh's measure.