After cannabis prohibitionists are defeated at the ballot box, sometimes you may have to defeat them again. And again. In Arizona, the rights of patients are under attack as Republican Representative John Kavanagh is proposing the repeal of the Arizona medical marijuana program established after a hard-fought campaign in 2010. As usual, the prohibitionists don’t have the facts and science on their side and, in turn, promote a policy that actually puts people’s lives in danger. The Republican state legislator is concerned that so many qualified patients have chronic pain, a diagnosis that may be hard to disprove, according to the politician.
While chronic pain may be hard to disprove to Rep. Kavanagh, state-licensed doctors have put their medical licenses on the line based upon documentation provided to these patients. Chronic pain plagues 47% of American adults, it should not be surprising that a large number of pain patients are qualifying for state medical cannabis programs. A similar fear-mongering tactic has been employed by anti-medical marijuana propagandists in Oregon, and likely other states, as well.
Cannabis has been proven to reduce chronic pain and may decrease a patient’s need for more addictive and dangerous narcotics like Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet. Medical cannabis can actually save lives that would otherwise be lost due to prescription drug use. Thus, even if Rep. Kavanagh’s suspicion’s are correct and a large number of patients are fakers, then the worse case scenario is that patients with medical documentation with chronic pain are paying a licensing fee to the state to legally utilize a nontoxic medicine that has never directly caused a death and may very well prevent these same people from utilizing drugs that can actually kill them.
Some courageous patients spoke about their medical marijuana usage in response to Rep. Kavanagh’s threats against the program to KTAR in Arizona:
Greg Plunkett, who served in the Navy, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and seizures. He couldn’t disagree more with Kavanagh.
“I get this because I need the help,” he said. “I’m standing here today because of medical marijuana.”
Rebecca Perry, who has multiple sclerosis, said medical marijuana helps her and the dispensaries keep her from being forced to look for marijuana illegally.
It is a shame to see politicians fear monger and support policies that will detrimentally impact their constituents, particular the most vulnerable among us. Let’s help Arizona’s patients. Call, fax and email Rep. John Kavanagh and let him know that he should not be depriving sick and disabled patients a safe medicine that improves their lives, especially when there is absolutely no evidence presented that the Arizona medical marijuana program is causing any harm.