Medical marijuana advocates have filed notice with the Arizona Secretary of State that they intend to gather signatures in an effort to place an initiative on the 2010 ballot to ask voters to legalize smoking pot by patients who get a recommendation from a doctor.
Under the proposal, Arizonans with certain medical conditions and symptoms would be permitted to qualify with the Arizona Department of Health Services to obtain small amounts of marijuana for personal use from state regulated dispensaries.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project would protect patients, doctors and caregivers of patients that suffer from diseases such as cancer, AIDS, HIV, Alzheimer’s, Hepatitis C and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis from prosecution under state and federal law.
With the approval of the Department of Health Services, patients would be permitted to possess up to two and a half ounces of marijuana. The department also would have discretion to authorize individuals to grow their own marijuana for medical use.
“This is a common-sense law that allows severely ill patients access to medication that they need, while providing strict controls to make sure this medicine is only available to qualified patients,” said Andrew Myers, a campaign manager for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project. “Thousands of patients across Arizona are already using medical marijuana with their doctor’s recommendation. These patients shouldn’t have to risk arrest and jail just for following their doctor’s advice.”
Backers of the proposal must submit at least 153,365 signatures of registered Arizona voters by July 1, 2010 to qualify the proposed law change for the 2010 November general election ballot.
By Christian Palmer, firstname.lastname@example.org