Arkansas Faith & Ethics Council
eNotes from Larry Page, Executive Director
October 16, 2012
THE PROPOSED ARKANSAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA
ACT (AMMA) IS DISASTROUS PUBLIC POLICY:
IT SHOULD BE ROUNDLY REJECTED BY ARKANSAS VOTERS
LARRY PAGE, ARKANSAS FAITH AND ETHICS COUNCIL
The AMMA, which will be listed as Issue Five on the November general election ballot, is BAD LAW based on BAD SCIENCE and driven by BAD MOTIVES.
- LIFETIME PASS TO SMOKE MARIJUANA – To qualify as a patient permitted to smoke marijuana one needs only a doctor’s certificate -- not a prescription. No provision in the AMMA requires a patient to be recertified by a physician and no provision requires the Health Department to mandate recertification. That makes the certificate potentially a lifetime pass to buy or grow and smoke marijuana.
- ALMOST ANYONE WILL BE ABLE TO QUALIFY AS A PERMITTED PATIENT – The list of conditions that would qualify a patient for smoking marijuana is lengthy and includes intractable, chronic pain, a condition that cannot be verified definitively by a doctor or established absolutely by medical tests.
- PHARMACIES WILL NOT BE INVOLVED – Pharmacies and the tight control they utilize to control drugs and prevent abuse aren’t allowed under the act – instead only thirty or so loosely supervised dispensaries will be established.
- THOUSANDS WILL BE ALLOWED TO GROW THEIR OWN MARIJUANA – If a qualifying patient lives more than 5 miles from a dispensary – and that may describe hundreds of thousands of Arkansans – that patient can either grow his own marijuana or designate someone else to grow it for him.
- ACTIVITIES PERMITTED BY THE AMMA WILL REMAIN CRIMES UNDER FEDERAL LAW – Even if the AMMA passes, the growing, marketing, and possession of marijuana will still be clear violations of federal criminal laws and individuals engaging in those activities can be prosecuted for those crimes.
- MARIJUANA USERS WILL HAVE TO BE TOLERATED BY EVERYONE – Employers, landlords, and school authorities will not be allowed to exclude or reject patients who have qualified to smoke marijuana.
- THE LAW CANNOT BE ENFORCED – The provisions of the act purporting to provide control and prevent abuses are incapable of being effectively enforced. If the experience of other states that have legalized medical marijuana are any indication, the enforcement of Arkansas laws against the illegal marijuana trade will be frustrated to the point of being improbable at best and impossible at worst.
- THE AMMA MASQUERADES AS SOUND MEDICAL PRACTICE – If the smoking of marijuana was sound medically – groups such as the FDA, the American Medical Association, and the American Cancer Society would support and endorse the smoking of marijuana – and they have refused to do so. The FDA has not approved the delivery of any medicine by smoking the substance.
- MASKING PAIN OR OTHER SYMPTOMS DOES NOT MAKE AN ILLICIT DRUG MEDICINE - There are many substances that one can ingest, inject, snort, or inhale and get temporary pain relief and alleviate other symptoms, but that fact alone does not make that illicit substance a worthy pharmaceutical agent. If so, we would have medical methamphetamine, medical crack cocaine, and medical airplane glue.
THERE ARE SAFER AND MORE EFFICACIOUS WAYS TO DELIVER ANY BENEFICIAL COMPONENTS OF MARIJUANA - The poppy plant, from which opium and heroin are produced, have components that are medically beneficial, but we don’t smoke opium cigarettes or inject ourselves with heroin. Medical science did the necessary research on the poppy plant and developed very helpful drugs, such as codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and others. The same process has been followed and should continue to be followed with marijuana.
- SMOKING MARIJUANA IS UNHEALTHY AND DANGEROUS - Smoking marijuana carries significant risks to heath. It can cause dependency, addiction, mental impairment, respiratory problems, including obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer, and a whole host of other serous conditions, problems, and dilemmas.
- THE AMMA IS REALLY ABOUT LEGALIZING MARIJUANA FOR RECREATIONAL USE – The out-of-state group, the Marijuana Policy Project, that is driving and financing the AMMA reveals on its website that its ultimate objective is the full legalization of marijuana for recreational use
- THE BACKERS OF THE AMMA ARE FOLLOWING FAITHFULLY THE PLAYBOOK – In 1979, Keith Stroup, the Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), told an audience at Emory University that NORML would be using medical marijuana as a “red herring to give marijuana a good name.” Kevin Zeese of the Drug Policy Foundation was quoted on several occasions as saying, “Medical marijuana is the first step to decriminalization.” Eric Sterling of the Criminal Justice Foundation has said, “Medical use of marijuana is an integral part of the strategy to legalize.”