This article shows what is happening in parts of the USA where so-called medical marijuana laws have flooded the streets with marijuana. Note over 33,000 people declare they are ‘sick’ and need marijuana – and are facilitated in this by rogue doctors whoissue cards allowing them to buy the substance. Use by youth has , not surprisingly escalated..
While opponents of Arizona’s medical marijuana law are getting ready to take it back to voters, police are discovering that authorized cardholders are selling marijuana to one another and selling it on the street.
Cardholder-to-cardholder sales are illegal, the state health department said, and are frustrating to police. Sahuarita police recently stopped a Tucson man with a medical marijuana card and an outstanding narcotics warrant from Maricopa County when he was driving erratically around Rancho Sahuarita looking for his connection. They booked him into jail for the warrant. In the past Sahuarita police have simply reported sales among medical marijuana cardholders to the Arizona Department of Health Services, which regulates medical marijuana, but ADHS officials on Tuesday said such sales are illegal under ARS 36-2811, the medical marijuana statute.
Sahuarita police Sgt. Matt McGlone said Tuesday that now that the law has been clarified, officers will arrest cardholders when they can prove something of value has been exchanged for marijuana.
On Thursday, state Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) introduced HCR 2003, a resolution aimed at putting Prop. 203 back on the ballot in 2014. Prop. 203 barely passed in 2010, legalizing medical marijuana in Arizona. The effort to send the issue back to voters was embraced by Keep AZ Drug Free, which opposed the original initiative.
“Any benefits to the few participants in the marijuana program who are seriously ill are overwhelmingly outweighed by the harms to our kids and communities,” Keep AZ Drug Free chairwoman Carolyn Short said.
McGlone said officers have found authorized cardholders selling marijuana on the street and in a few cases selling to other cardholders. Those who are selling to non-cardholders are cited for on drug charges, but until Tuesday, when ADHS officials cited the statute, police had been unsure whether they could file charges, McGlone said.
ADHS has issued 33,601 cards to medical marijuana patients. It has received about two dozen reports of patients selling marijuana, is processing those cases, and has revoked 13 cards for various reasons, including selling marijuana, said Tom Salow, ADHS rules administrator. Cardholders can give medical marijuana to each other, but Salow said “nothing of value can be transferred for medical marijuana.”
On Dec. 21, Sahuarita police stopped Brandon Michael Young, 33, of Tucson, after they saw him pulling over, speeding up and slowing down around Rancho Sahuarita. When stopped, Young produced a medical marijuana card and told police they could search his car. Police found three mason jars of marijuana in the trunk and discovered he had the outstanding warrant.
Young was taken to jail for the warrant, but no other charges were filed, McGlone said.
Young said he had been looking for a home nearby and police visited the nearest home, in the 14200 block of South Via Horma. An occupant told police he also had a medical marijuana card and said Young was coming to his house to make what he called a “donation” of cash and in return he would give Young marijuana. The man, who was not charged or named in the police report, said he had been visited by Young several times in the past and said on each visit that Young had given him cash ranging from $120 to $170 in return for varying amounts of marijuana.
Oppose the law
The nuisance factor of a man with a felony warrant driving around Rancho Sahuarita and looking for his connection is one reason why Short of Keep AZ Drug Free wants to repeal the medical marijuana law.
Short told the Green Valley News the law was deceptively marketed by a national pro-marijuana organization as a way to help patients with cancer and other debilitating illnesses, but instead has spawned a legalized pot industry that mostly serves recreational users who list pain as their medical need, one that she said is impossible to ascertain.
Short said the 2012 Arizona Youth Survey study by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission found that 11 percent of teenagers surveyed obtained marijuana from someone with a medical marijuana card. Other sources of marijuana include relatives, friends and at parties.
Short said news reports indicate that the law has led to increased crime. She acknowledged that it may be early to obtain statistics on the law’s impacts on crime, but said “we’ll have a lot more data to look at between now and then (2014).”
If the law is repealed by voters, Short said cancer patients or others with legitimate medical reasons for using marijuana would have to use it illegally, and she added “police are not arresting cancer patients” for using marijuana.