Arizona’s constitution allows the people themselves to pass laws by initiative. After years of legislative meddling in the people’s laws, Arizonans approved the Voter Protection Act (VPA) to protect their laws from legislative interference. Despite the VPA, legislators have passed multiple measures to undermine the medical marijuana program that the people of Arizona voted for in 2010 — and they’re at it again.
A series of bills proposed by the legislature would limit Proposition 203, which made medical marijuana legal in the state, and run afoul of the medical marijuana law and the VPA:
-- HB 206, introduced by Rep. Kelly Townsend, would ban the use of medical marijuana by pregnant women, inappropriately inserting the legislature into the doctor/patient relationship; and
-- HB 2404 and 2405, introduced by Rep. Vince Leach, would limit where marijuana can be grown and increase some patients’ fees.
If that wasn’t bad enough, now Rep. Bob Thorpe has introduced a resolution (HCR 2023) to gut the VPA and allow the legislature to change ballot initiatives passed by the voters in ways that are contrary to the purpose of the initiative.
An additional bill, HB 2019, introduced by Rep. Jay Lawrence, would have limited access to medical marijuana by restricting the types of medical professionals who can recommend it. Thanks to hundreds of patients and supporters calling and emailing Rep. Lawrence in opposition the bill, he decided to withdraw it, saying that he had not done enough research and would not support similar legislation in the future.
If you are an Arizona resident, please ask your lawmakers to stop interfering with medical marijuana!