Reasons Medical Marijuana is bad for Arizona

Here are Seven Reasons to oppose medical marijuana…

1) Most of the marijuana will go to drug abusers; less than 3 percent will go to the seriously ill.

2) Prop 203 will increase teenage marijuana use, and it will hurt them academically.

3) Prop 203 will increase DUIs and traffic fatalities.

4) Almost all the marijuana is prescribed by pot doctors who hand out marijuana cards all day to anyone with $150. This is not a real doctor-patient relationship.

5) Prop 203 gives pot-smokers unheard of impunity with employers and the law. It will be hard to prosecute them for DUI or discipline them for coming to work stoned.

6) The Marijuana Policy Project claims prisons are full of innocent people who did nothing but smoke marijuana, and that is completely untrue.

7) Marijuana is actually harmful for people with glaucoma and other diseases they keep saying it helps.  This whole thing is being pushed by pot-smokers, not doctors or people with serious illness.

There’s a post on each of these.

The group opposing Propositon 203 is KeepAZDrugFree.  I can be reached at DrGogek@gmail.com.

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98% of the pot will go to drug abusers; only 2% to people with serious illness

Proposition 203 is basically dishonest. The ballot says it’s for “terminally or seriously ill patients,” but in other states that passed similar laws, anyone can get pot, and hardly any goes to the seriously ill. In Montana 3 percent of the medical marijuana patients

 

Marijuana dispensary in California, where three-fourths of all medical marijuana patients are under age 40. Does he look seriously ill?

 

have cancer, AIDS or glaucoma–the serious diseases the marijuana is supposedly for. In San Diego, it’s only 2 percent.  Drug abusers, teenagers, college students, people with no serious medical problems at all—that’s who these laws protect and that’s who smokes almost all of the medical marijuana, not people with serious illnesses. News stories by the Associated Press (Medical Marijuana Facing a Backlash) and the New York Times (When Capitalism Meets Cannabis) have documented this problem in Montana and Colorado.  What the proposition seems to say and what really happens are completely different.

For example, Prop 203 limits marijuana to people with very specific medical conditions, and lists cancer, AIDS,  multiple sclerosis—disorders that are extremely debilitating and hard to fake. It’s easy to prove whether or not someone has cancer. But the list of

 

The Arizona Republic said the medical argument is a smokescreen. Prop 203 is a backdoor route to legalization.

 

approved medical conditions also includes “severe and intractable pain.” That one’s totally subjective. Anyone can fake pain and it’s impossible to disprove. And anything can be severe and intractable pain—a twisted ankle, a bad back, a skateboarding injury. One woman got marijuana because her high heels hurt. So it’s a perfect loophole for drug abusers.

That might be okay if only a tiny amount of marijuana went through this loophole while most of it went to genuinely sick people who needed it. But what’s happening in states with these laws is almost all the pot is smoked by drug abusers and genuine medical use is a rarity. In the New York Times article (When Capitalism Meets Cannabis) the reporter spent 3 days in several marijuana dispensaries, and most of the patients he saw were under age 30. Everyone he interviewed had a diagnosis of severe pain. And in the city he visited, at one point all the marijuana dispensaries were on college campuses. In Montana, 90 percent of cardholders have a diagnosis of “chronic pain,” and only 3 percent have serious illness.

According to the Justice Department’s 2008 Marijuana Sourcebook (page 20), in San Diego County, three-fourths of the “medical marijuana” patients are under age 40, and 12 percent are under 21. This is not the age group that should have the most serious health problems.

 

The demand for medical marijuana doesn't come from doctors or from the seriously ill.

 

So don’t buy the story that Prop 203 is about people with cancer and other serious illnesses. The real story about Prop 203 is that it’s a back door route to legalization, and almost all the marijuana will go to people with no significant health problems at all.

Some people say, what’s it matter, as long as that 2 percent is helped. The answer is that, despite what pot-smokers would have us believe, marijuana is harmful. The next 2 posts tell you how harmful medical marijuana laws are, and why it’s really bad for Arizona to pass a law that will give 98 percent of the medical marijuana to people with no medical need.

To join or learn about the group opposing Proposition 203, go to KeepAZDrugFree.com

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More teenagers smoke pot in states with medical marijuana laws

2) Proposition 203 will hit teenagers the hardest. States with medical marijuana laws have far higher rates of teenage marijuana use, and teens who smoke pot regularly do worse in school and in life.

Research shows that teenagers who smoke pot frequently have difficulty with  memoryattention and problem-solvingfind it harder to learnget lower grades, and are less likely to finish high school or college. Once they’ve finished or left school, they have higher job turnoverless satisfying careers and earn less money than non-pot-smoking peers. No parent wants this for their children. Medical marijuana laws increase teenage marijuana use, so all these problems become more common.

By 2006, 20 percent more teenagers were smoking pot in medical marijuana states (ProCon.org) By 2008 the difference was 30 percent. (SAMHSA)

Most teens are actually pretty smart about drugs, using the ones they consider to be safe and avoiding the ones they believe to be harmful. That’s why cigarette smoking and binge drinking have decreased sharply among teens.  Teenage marijuana use also showed an overall decrease between 1999 and 2006 as teens recognized the very real problems it can cause. But the decrease has been far less in states with medical marijuana laws. In medical marijuana states, teen use dropped by 5 percent in 7 years, whereas in non-medical marijuana states it dropped 14 percent.

By the way, some pro-marijuana advocates use only half this statistic, pointing out that teenage marijuana use is decreasing in medical marijuana states and claiming that proves medical marijuana laws don’t increase teen pot use. What they’re not mentioning is that teen marijuana use has decreased everywhere, and is decreasing three times as fast in states without medical marijuana laws.

 

If teens know the problems pot can cause, they are less likely to use it.

 

In a 2006 ranking of states based on the percentage of teens who used marijuana over the past month, medical marijuana states came out on top.  The 3 states with the highest rates of teen pot use were all states with medical marijuana laws. At the time there were only ten states with medical marijuana laws, but half of the top ten were medical marijuana states. Maine went from 28th to first in the nation in just a few years after passing a medical marijuana law.

Between 1999 and 2006, teenage pot use was 20 percent higher in medical marijuana states. But in 2007-2008 the gap increased to 30 percent, and the downward trend in teen marijuana use bottomed out, especially in states with medical marijuana laws. This is all from the SAMHSA National Household Drug Use Survey. In 2009, teenage marijuana use increased, and most likely teenage marijuana use is increasing in states with medical marijuana laws and decreasing in states without these laws.

 

Marijuana vending machines in California send the message that pot is as harmless as candy

 

One reason teenagers smoke more pot in states with medical marijuana laws is that they begin to see pot as a benign medication for everyday aches and pains rather than as a harmful, addictive drug.  Also, medical marijuana laws, especially loosely-written ones like Prop 203, make marijuana more available for everyone. In an NPR story earlier this year, teenagers in California were quoted saying marijuana is always available, either from dispensaries or from friends who have medical marijuana cards. When a drug is more available and seen as safe, more people use it, especially teens.

Parents should know that one of the main results if this proposition becomes law is that their children are much more likely to have friends who smoke pot and more likely to smoke pot themselves. And if they do smoke pot, they will probably start at an earlier age and smoke it more often.

Medical marijuana laws also teach kids dishonesty. When they see drug abusers and doctors gaming the system, and getting away with it, they think that’s what normal people do.

To join or learn about the group opposing Proposition 203, go to KeepAZDrugFree.com

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Prop 203 will increase the number of fatal car crashes

3) If Prop 203 passes, there will be more DUIs and more fatal auto accidents. The research on stoned driving and the reports from states with medical marijuana laws make it clear, when it comes to driving, marijuana poses all the same problems that alcohol does.

 

Marijuana is the culprit in one-third of Montana's DUI traffic fatalities. If more people smoke pot, it could even overtake alcohol.

 

A research study by the University of Auckland compared a random sample of drivers with people who had either been killed or hospitalized by car accidents. Regular and heavy pot-smokers were 9.5 times more likely to get into a serious accident as non-users. Another study looked at patients in a hospital trauma unit who had been in car or motorcycle accidents. Fifteen percent had been using marijuana alone and an additional 17 percent had both THC and alcohol in their blood streams.  A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked only at impaired drivers who were not using alcohol. They found that 45 percent of people stopped for reckless driving tested positive for marijuana.  A significant percent of impaired drivers and serious accidents, including fatal accidents, are caused by marijuana.

Part of the problem is that so many people drive stoned. One study found that 16 percent of adolescents drove within one hour after smoking pot. Also, while there’s been a huge education campaign against drunk driving, the pro-marijuana groups often insist that marijuana makes people safer drivers.

Marijuana advocates often insist that marijuana never killed anyone. One look at the stoned driving statistics should make it clear that’s not true. They also frequently argue that marijuana is safer than alcohol. But judging by these statistics, it’s possible that the main reason alcohol kills more people on the highway is because it is more widely available, not because it is more inherently dangerous. Laws that make marijuana more widely available could even the gap between the two drugs.

In fact, that has happened. When Montana first passed its law, very few people were prescribed, or recommended, medical marijuana. Then marijuana caravans began criss-crossing the state, bringing with them pot doctors who made all their money handing out marijuana cards. In less than a year, the number of “medical marijuana” users increased 5-fold. And shortly after that, according to Montana narcotics chief Mark Long, marijuana DUIs skyrocketed as did the number of fatal car accidents where one of the drivers had marijuana in his blood stream. In two years, the number of fatal car accidents caused by marijuana increased 25 percent. In Montana, marijuana now causes half as many traffic fatalities as alcohol, and the gap is narrowing.

In California, the number of fatal car crashes caused by marijuana doubled in the five years after they passed their medical marijuana law. Marijuana is just as deadly behind the wheel as alcohol, and if marijuana use increases it could overtake alcohol as the deadliest drug on the road.

If Prop 203 passes, Arizona will see a similar increase in deadly car crashes.

To join or learn about the group opposing Proposition 203, go to KeepAZDrugFree.com

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The PotDoc Loophole: Prop 203 lets doctors become drug dealers.

 

If it's just for serious illness, why is this doctor advertising where young people hang out?

 

Prop 203 says only licensed physicians can write marijuana recommendations. That sounds good because we assume doctors will only use it to treat genuinely sick people. But instead what happens is a handful of doctors set up practices where they get rich seeing 50 – 100 people a day, handing out marijuana cards to anyone with $150. Check out the website www.potdoc.com, for an example of one of these marijuana doctors.

In Colorado, the doctor who writes the most prescriptions sees people for 5 minute appointments. In Montana, traveling marijuana caravans take pot doctors from town to town, handing out marijuana cards.

 

In some offices, the secretary fills out the card before the "patient" even sees the doctor.

 

This should be illegal. If a doctor openly prescribed Xanax for everyone or Oxycontin for everyone, the licensing board would yank his license and he’d probably go to jail. But Prop 203 protects these marijuana doctors so the licensing board can’t touch them.

Prop 203 is sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a group devoted to legalizing pot. It says so right on their website.  And they’re knowingly pushing this law that is full of loopholes.

If they were serious about medical marijuana, they could propose a much stricter law that actually gave most of the marijuana to terminally and seriously ill people. They could have based Prop 203 on New Mexico’s more carefully-written law that requires second opinions to make sure people really have the illnesses they claim. Colorado changed their law to require a long-standing doctor-patient relationship, instead of 5 minutes. Prop 203 has neither of these protections.

 

 

Prop 203 ties the licensing board's hands, and lets unethical doctors become drug dealers.

 

People who represent the Marijuana Policy Project says Arizona’s law is improved, that they learned from their mistakes in other states. But the pot doctor loophole is still in Arizona’s law. Colorado’s legislature is trying to get rid of the pot doc loophole, but once a referendum is passed in Arizona, state law makes it extremely difficult for our legislature to fix it.

 

Why is this man smiling? Dr Jean Tallyrand made $10 million in 5 years prescribing marijuana.

 

Because of this loophole, Prop 203 will effectively legalize marijuana for everyone. Every drug addict in the state will know exactly who these doctors are, and they’ll have waiting rooms full of people in their twenties and thirties. Is that a legitimate medical practice?

To join or learn about the group opposing Proposition 203, go to KeepAZDrugFree.com


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Prop 203 protects pot-smokers against any consequences for their actions

Prop 203 protects pot-smokers in ways we’d never tolerate for people who abused alcohol or prescription drugs. Prop 203 says marijuana cardholders can’t be prosecuted for DUI based solely on “the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.” An employer can’t discipline an employee or send him home based on a drug test showing “the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.”

 

If Prop 203 passes, the courts will have to define too stoned to go to work. Expect a long, drawn-out battle.

 

That might sound reasonable. After all, marijuana can show up in the bloodstream several days after use. The problem is, there is no standard for what constitutes “insufficient concentration to cause impairment.” Prop 203 doesn’t say who sets the standard, so it will probably fall to the legislature or Department of Health Services. But expect lots of lobbying and lawsuits until a standard is established. And until a standard is established, pot-smokers can drive stoned or go to work stoned with impunity. Whether they’re surgeons,

 

Until the courts decide, no one can be fired or even sent home for coming to work high.

 

truck drivers, crane operators or teachers, they’re protected even if they go to work high. Drug-free workplace rules will not apply.

 

Every landlord's nightmare becomes a tenant's right under Prop 203.

 

The law also says no landlord may refuse someone as a tenant for being a cardholder, even if the card-holder lives 25 miles from the nearest dispensary and is allowed to grow marijuana in hishome. In Colorado, people who grow their own are re-wiring houses and starting fires, but the law protects them. They can’t be evicted or even charged an extra damage deposit like pet-owners are.

 

Prop 203 protects the drug-abusing parent, but not the child.

 

Child visitation can’t be denied because someone is a cardholder. Even if the parent is a drug addict whose child was taken by CPS because he abused the child whenever he was on drugs, that parent can still show up for visitation stoned.

In Montana, nearly 10 percent of criminals on probation and parole have marijuana cards, and they usually got them after they were arrested. This allows them to smoke pot even if they’re drug addicts, and  judges or drug courts have ordered them to stay clean and sober.

Instead of “stoned,” substitute the words “drunk” or “high on oxycontin,” and these people could be prosecuted, fired, evicted, denied visitation or ordered to stay drug-free on parole. But Prop 203 gives pot-smokers unheard of protection. Even strict libertarians and others who support legalization find this unfair. There should still be consequences for people who don’t control their behavior.

To join or learn about the group opposing Proposition 203, go to KeepAZDrugFree.com

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Don’t believe the innocents in prison stories.

The campaign for Prop 203 is called Stop Arresting Patients, and that’s also a ruse.

Yes, thousands of people are in prison on marijuana charges, but almost all of them pleaded down from more serious charges, had more serious prior offenses or were arrested with extremely large amounts of pot. Check out the publication “Who’s really in prison for marijuana?” People with serious illnesses aren’t getting arrested, and they know it.

 

Drug abusers are great con artists. They know how to play on our sympathies.

 

This should be obvious. Any defendant can demand a jury trial. Can you imagine a jury sending a grandmother with cancer to prison for marijuana possession? Of course not. And if it did happen, the Marijuana Policy Project would paste her picture everywhere. Instead, they make this claim without giving one single example of a genuinely sick person getting sent to jail.

What should bother everyone is the Marijuana Policy Project’s dishonesty. They keep telling us it’s for people with cancer and AIDS and serious illnesses. They know that’s not true. They know that 97-98 percent the marijuana will go to people without serious problems, people who just want to get high. Yet they keep pretending otherwise. Even people who support legalization should be offended.

I’m a doctor. If Proposition 203 were genuinely designed to help people with serious illnesses, I would support it. But it’s not. And if it passes, it will do far more harm than good.

If you want to join the group opposing Proposition 203, go to KeepAZDrugFree.com

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