15 October 2010

Expanded Coverage: Prop. 203

Again, because of some good comments below on my prior Ballot Proposition Recommendations post, I have decided to expound on Prop. 107 (post below) and Prop. 203 (relating to medical marijuana).

Prop. 203 creates a new regulatory system for the distribution and oversight of medical marijuana for patients with a prescription from a physician for certain types of specific ailments, such as chronic pain. The new regulations would be governed by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The Confusion: A couple commenters on my blog, or since they are anonymous it might be just one, called me naive on the subject of pain management via marijuana and that I was attempting to mislead people into thinking it was more harmful than it might be. That argument was supplemented by the statement that prescription drugs are, in some cases, as or more addictive than marijuana, and that no one ever died from smoking it (though, considering a research study published in the BMJ medical journal showed that persons driving after using marijuana was twice as likely to be involved in fatal car crashes as "sober" people, I would challenge that).

What I Found Out: The federal Food and Drug Administration released results in 2006 of their study on the medicinal uses of cannabis and the risk-reward factor in using it as a prescription drug to treat ailments. It says that marijuana is a schedule 1 drug (the most restrictive category) because of three criteria: it has a high potential for abuse, has no currently proven acceptable medical use, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Scientific studies by the FDA and other Department of Health and Human Services agencies found that "no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use."

AZ FactCheck on http://www.azcentral.com/ similarly reports that the US Drug Enforcement Agency, American Cancer Society, American Glaucoma Society, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society all state on their respective websites that medical marijuana may provide some benefits to patients with chronic illnesses, but that there are also negative effects that go along with those benefits. All but the DEA cite the need for better research before openly allowing medical marijuana. In addition, the Drug Enforcement Agency states that medical marijuana - or at least the part of it that helps manage pain called THC (the "active ingredient" in marijuana) - already exists in pill form called Marinol. While this pill has the same benefits as actually smoking the plants, it may also have negative side effects.

The argument really boils down to this, now that I know that pill-form marijuana exists and is approved by the FDA: proponents of 203 want to SMOKE pot. If this issue were really about the medicinal value of the plant, there already exist pain management medications and weight loss and appetite stimulants (like Marinol). While such pain meds like Vicodin or Oxycontin do have the potential to be addictive, they are much more controllable than marijuana, which has a high potential and probability for abuse by both prescribed users and non-prescribed users. Considering the valid FDA and DEA claims that marijuana's benefits do not at this time outweigh the potential negative effects of the drug, the only conclusion I can reach is that medical marijuana (the plant) is not an appropriate narcotic to use for medicinal purposes.

The Bottom Line: Medical marijuana provides little reward for potentially greater risk. Regardless of the passage of Prop 203, the federal government will continue to pursue and prosecute individuals using marijuana. Also, considering how hard it is to make something harmful illegal versus making something legal, if marijuana is found to have a negative impact on the state, it will be really difficult to repeal Prop. 203 in the future to fix the problem. Better to just vote no and leave this drug a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, illegal in the country and in the State of Arizona.


  1. Salvia divinorum. It’s still legal. If you're focused on telling people what they can and can't do, it might be a good project to start working on

  2. Anon, I'm not telling anyone what they can or cannot do. Currently, the US Drug Enforcement Agency is telling you what you cannot do, in this case, smoking marijuana. The opinion that Prop. 203 would facilitate abuse of marijuana is supported by facts from the DEA and the claim that marijuana's benefits are far outweighed by its downsides is the FDA's. My assertion that Prop. 203 should be defeated is just that: my opinion. You can ignore it as you see fit, but the facts (in my opinion) point to the necessary conclusion that we should vote no on 203.

  3. you're wrong again! Marinol (synthesized THC), firstly, is not natural as is the natural occuring THC from the plant. We all know how well our synthesized "equals" match up in terms of rampant side effects etc. Second, THC is only one of several cannabinoids in the plant (CBD being another big one), and doesn't even address the role of terpines that are also thought to play a role in certain processes in providing relief. Furthermore, the synthesized singular cannabinoid is excruciatingly expensive, and rarely covered in all but a handful of cases. Growing the plant covers all active ingredients, avoids the threat of synthesis, all natural, and CHEAP. It has NOTHING to do with wanting to smoke, and EVERYTHING to do with EFFICACY. Further, most patients don't even smoke, they either take PO (by mouth) or vaporized below combustible temps. You need to do more research before you opine.

  4. Further troubling is that you take at face value the findings of the FDA. These are the people that are rubber stamping the horribly dangerous drugs that we find as topics of lawsuits 2-5 years later. They tried to push Fosamax on my dad for years. He refused based on culled, cumulative patient data on side effects from the net. HORRIBLE stuff. FDA said it was "safe". As i write this, another drug lawsuit commercial came on the tele. These are drugs the FDA ruled "safe". What a joke. You should read the history of Marijuana and why it was banned. Mostly because of the amazing industrial profile of the fibrous stem and threatening of the logging industry. Also, racism played a large role in the whole reefer madness movement. I don't smoke and cant' stand the stuff. But i won't have the likes of you telling my grandma that she can't have it to stimulate her frail little appetite, and I won't have to telling me what to ingest. Please, do your own research. To hell with what the FDA says, they're part of the problem.

  5. Oh yeah, I'm a capitalist, conversative, FFL holding, gunsmithing and reloading hobbyist, all the way fiscal conservative. But I have HAD IT with the lies about these new drugs being safe, and old drugs BESTOWED BY GOD being unsafe based on conjecture. FED UP. The last 3 posts are the first posts I've made to your site. PRior to that was not me. I'm not admonishing you, I"m just annoyed. Good day.

  6. Mr. Capitalist, conservative, FFL holding, gunsmithing and reloading hobbyist, all the way fiscal conservative:

    Where to begin? Let's start with your first post. I never claimed Marinol's THC was natural, firstly. If you want to try to put words in my mouth, by all means, it's your first amendment right, but it doesn't help your argument when you're doing so. Secondly, I don't care how PATIENTS might utilize the plant-form marijuana, I care how badly it can (and will) be abused.

    Your second post whines about the FDA. I do indeed trust the FDA when they make recommendations about the safety and medicinal quality of a drug. If you have a problem with that, you can go find somewhere else to magnanimously bloviate about my personal opinions. (See? I can use big words, too!) Indeed, I don't think I have ever met your grandmother, and thus there is little chance I could have told her she cannot use medical anything.

    Third, you can be whatever political party you want. This isn't a Republican vs. Democrat issue. This is about ensuring that drugs that can and will be abused remain as far out of reach as possible from the general public. It's a pity that people are trying to make potentially hazardous illegal substances legal.

    You can be as fed up as you want. The thing is, as long as legalizing marijuana remains my choice to vote yes or no on, I'm going to vote no. Marijuana is not something I want on the streets or in my medicine cabinet. I will vote to deny people the right to use it medicinally, recreationally, or any other -ally I can think of.

    "Bestowed by God" or not, medical marijuana is wrong for Arizona. That's why I urge people voting today to do as I did, and vote NO on Prop. 203.

  7. Aww well too bad for you it passed sucker=)

  8. Oh and just to clear something for you.....

    People Here in arizona do there nails, eat breakfast and shave on there way to work and the infamous illegal texting wile driving also driving under the influence of anything. The end result is all the same

    Distracted or Intoxication of any form is not acceptable behind the weal and despite studies that small amounts of marijuana use before driving actually reduces the risk of crash, responsible cannabis users do not smoke and drive.

    See Below

    "The study showed that a modest dose of alcohol (BAC = 0.04 g %) produced a significant impairment in city driving as measured by the molar approach, relative to placebo. More specifically, alcohol impaired vehicle handling and traffic maneuvers. Marijuana, administered in a dose of 100 mcg / kg THC, on the other hand, did not significantly change mean driving performance as measured by this approach. Neither alcohol nor marijuana significantly affected driving performance measures obtained by the molecular approach indicating that it may be relatively insensitive to drug-induced changes. "studies

    The cause of death was the act of DUID ( Choosing to smoke and drive) and not smoking marijuana so your reasoning behind marijuana causing death is false my friend. There are actual deaths from just the use of other drugs, but not one documented case of someone drop dead from pot just from smoking it by it self and not using with any other drug.

    Oh and i welcome a response my email is phelps.john@att.net

  9. My apologies i just read that information and its kinda up in the air according to that one paragraph however this study is fairly unbiassed other then the website that host it. You will find and you can locate this passage in it, witch pretty much says it all, that even the most strong dose of marijuana in the study did not create impairment that was greater then a person who had one beer.



    DOT HS 808 078 NOVEMBER 1993



    "Notwithstanding methodological differences among studies, both direct and indirect evidence coverage on the conclusion that THC's effects after doses up to 300 ug/kg never exceed alcohol's at BACs of 0.08g%."


  10. The only comments I will make on this subject are that in politics, you win some and you lose some. All I can do as an Arizona citizen is fight for what I believe in and vote accordingly. In this election cycle I did that.

    I am proud of my vote against Prop. 203, and I am disappointed to see its passage. Otherwise, I don't see a need to respond to your obviously mocking statements. Thanks for the comments, John.