State Legislature Puts The Breaks On Voter-Approved Medical Marijuana Provision

Legislation overturning a voter-approved law allowing physicians to prescribe marijuana (Proposition 200) was okayed by state lawmakers on Tuesday. Gov. Fife Symington will sign the bill into law shortly. Arizona’s current medical marijuana law — which voters approved by a nearly two to one margin in November — permits doctors to prescribe marijuana to seriously ill patients if two licensed physicians agree on the use and offer supporting research.

Arizona’s new measure will delay indefinitely a doctor’s ability to prescribe marijuana by mandating that the drug first be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Proponents note that this process could take years.

“This is the ultimate act of political arrogance by the legislature,” said Sam Vagenas, campaign coordinator for Proposition 200. “It is a callous disregard of the will of the voters.”

Vagenas told reporters that medical marijuana proponents plan to launch a three-pronged attack on lawmakers who supported amending the current law, including filing a lawsuit challenging the authority of the legislature to significantly change voter-approved propositions.

Proponents will also begin another initiative drive to prohibit lawmakers from amending propositions for two years after they are passed. Their third offensive will involve targeting for defeat lawmakers who voted to change Proposition 200.

For more information, please contact either Sam Vagenas of Arizonans for Drug Policy Reform at (602) 285-0468 or Drew Foster of Arizona NORML at (602) 730-0032.