Just stop already - Let medical marijuana stand - Columns - Explorer

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Just stop already - Let medical marijuana stand


Respecting the people’s opinion, and democracy, doesn’t appear to be the strong suit of many of our state’s lawmakers. No, instead, our state’s leaders continue to fight the 2010 voter-approved initiative that has made medical marijuana legal.

Gov. Jan Brewer and many of her fellow Republican friends have made the process to actually get dispensaries open, and get licensed ridiculous. While they have continually disregarded the opinion of the federal government, they even used them as a reason not to move forward. 

Now that all of those stalling tactics have ended, we have Rep. John Kavannagh, R-Fountain Hills, believing it’s time to introduce a bill to repeal the state’s 2-year-old medical marijuana program.

Kavanagh has convinced himself that the people have had time to rethink their votes, and now the question should be put back on the ballot to give voters another chance. The sad thing is he’ll probably get the 16 votes he needs in the Senate, and the 31 votes he needs from the House to move forward with even more nonsense that is nothing more than a waste of time. 

Granted, the 2010 measure passed narrowly, winning by 4,340 votes out of the 1.7 million ballots cast statewide. Proposition 203 actually was defeated in 12 of the state’s 15 counties. But that was more than countered by very strong support in Pima and Coconino counties; it also was approved in Santa Cruz County.

To these continued tactics by those who disagree with making medical marijuana legal, I say enough already. It was passed by the people in a legitimate election. Agree or disagree, the bottom line is the people spoke, and it’s time for our state lawmakers to show some respect for it.

Frankly, the voters haven’t had time to rethink it because we haven’t seen if it has created a problem. The state has stalled the process too much. Facilities that are selling the medical marijuana haven’t even been opened very long.

Arizona acts like this has never happened and needs all this attention when so many other states are doing it, and frankly, it doesn’t appear to be a problem.

Let’s look at Colorado. They passed medical marijuana laws years ago. It went well, and voters were asked if they wanted to make marijuana legal altogether. Voters approved it.

Again, agree or disagree, what I liked is one Republican lawmaker, who completely disagreed with it, said he would not only respect the will of the people, but has also co-written legislation with a Democratic colleague to protect the state from being punished by the federal government.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado introduced the bill that would bar the federal government from blocking state marijuana laws, and Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado signed on to support it.

“I voted against Amendment 64 and I strongly oppose the legalization of marijuana, but I also have an obligation to respect the will of the voters,” Coffman said in a statement. “I feel obligated to support this legislation.”

This is the kind of lawmaker we need in Arizona. We need ones who may disagree, but understand what it means for the voters to speak and that it is their job to respect it, protect it and move on already.