Medical Marijuana on Arizona Ballot?

As in several other states, the medical marijuana debate has taken hold in Arizona, but the legalization of medical marijuana in Arizona will probably not make it on a ballot before the public this year. Even if such an initiative were to pass in the future, medical marijuana will presumably still be highly restricted and may be taxed as a luxury item.

Those who support medical marijuana for the purposes of reducing pain and other symptoms that chronically ill people face attempted to get the issue attention on the November ballot. They want to give Arizona residents the option to apply for registration if they suffer from a debilitating disease, such as cancer, that may require palliative measures including medical marijuana.

Supporters have started the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, which is dedicated to bringing about the legalization of medical marijuana and to supporting patients who suffer from chronic nausea, pain, lack of appetite and other debilitating symptoms.

Under the proposed plan, if medical marijuana is made legal in Arizona, purchases would be subject to 5.6 percent sales tax, as well as a luxury tax of $20 per ounce. This might make it difficult for people who are already saddled with medical bills related to their illnesses, but the restriction was necessary to garner support for the bill. Laws would also regulate the amount of marijuana that a single patient can purchase (2.5 ounces every two weeks) and under what circumstances it can be used.

Other states that have already legalized medical marijuana have mandated stringent rules restricting its use and clarifying the powers of law enforcement. One of the main problems when the use of medical marijuana is legalized is that thousands of people apply for registry identification cards, which can create a serious backlog and cost the state significant funds. It is difficult to regulate the conditions under which doctors prescribe marijuana - for example, terminally ill cancer patients are likely candidates, but what about someone who visits the doctor for headaches or back spasms?

The medical marijuana bill stalled in the Arizona House this year, though it seems that many residents of the state support the initiative. Medical marijuana supporters may try again next year to get the initiative placed on the ballot for Arizona voters to decide whether to allow restricted use and sale of medical marijuana in the state.

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