Next step: Complete legalization of marijuana - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Next step: Complete legalization of marijuana

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Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler

Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 2:02 pm | Updated: 10:31 pm, Thu Nov 18, 2010.

After the shellacking that the Republicans put on us Democrats a couple of weeks ago, I may need a “recommendation” from my doctor for the 5 ounces of medical marijuana each month provided for in Proposition 203 to relieve my life-threatening anxiety! That should be enough since you can roll about 14 joints per bag which computes to 60 a month... make that two joints per day please. Thank you.

Of course, anxiety may not be covered by our new medical marijuana law that passed by an overwhelming .00268 percent of the vote, or 4,300 votes out of 1.6 million. Thank you provisional voters. By the way, provisional voters tend to be younger people who move around a lot and show up at a voting precinct different than the one that may appear on their voter registration card. In fact, in a survey taken just prior to the election, 67 percent of those polled under the age of 35 supported Proposition 203. Remember in the 1960s when the mantra was “Don’t trust anyone over 30”? I guess now we can make that 35.

On a more serious note, voters in Arizona have sided with science and compassion while dealing yet another blow to our nation’s cruel and irrational prohibition on marijuana. Arizona now joins the list of 14 other states, along with the District of Columbia, that have passed medicinal cannabis laws since 1996. Specifically, the law allows for the establishment of about 120 state-regulated clinics that will dispense marijuana to qualified patients. Patients who live more than 25 miles from a clinic will be allowed to grow their own cannabis. Patients will need to receive a “recommendation” from their doctor in order to receive no more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks. Recommendations will be limited to those patients suffering from cancer, AIDS and other “life-threatening” diseases.

Furthermore, simply testing positive for cannabis on a urinalysis or other drug test will no longer, by itself, be enough to discipline or fire a medical marijuana patient in the workplace.

Additionally, medicinal use of cannabis won’t be cause for someone to be denied an organ transplant, to deny a good parent their child custody rights, or to evict a patient or deny them an education.

The passage of Proposition 203 is an important first step in the effort to completely legalize marijuana and to tax and regulate it in a fashion similar to how we handle alcohol and tobacco.

I can just imagine Bob Marley with a great big smile on his face now that Arizona has legalized it!

Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler

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