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Arizona Considers Adding more Ailments to MMJ Qualifying List
Voters in Arizona approved medical marijuana in the fall of 2010, and after the Governor’s stalling, medical marijuana dispensaries are finally starting to open across the state. Now advocates are looking to capitalize on their momentum by getting more ailments adding to the medical marijuana qualifying list, thereby adding more patients that can legally be helped.
Arizona health officials are considering adding post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and migraines to a list that currently includes cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig's disease, Crohn's disease or Alzheimer's disease.
Ingrid Joya runs Elements Caregivers Collective, a medical-marijuana caregiver collective in northeast Phoenix, and she is excited about the prospect of helping more people. “I absolutely think the program should be expanded,” she said. “We were one of the co-sponsors of the PTSD application. The state didn't touch on any mental-health issues. And I think with PTSD, there's enough data and research that suggests marijuana can work very effectively on it. When you think of how marijuana works as a blocker in the brain, it makes sense that it would work with PTSD because most people suffering from it are reliving those memories.”
But Carolyn Short, chairwoman of Keep Arizona Drug Free, is against every aspect of the MMJ law. “I think they should voluntarily get rid of it before the federal government comes into the state and shuts it down,” Carolyn opined. “It's illegal. It's an unconstitutional law that is going to get struck down, and I think we're wasting a whole lot of time. Under federal law, marijuana is illegal to use, grow or sell. There is no exception for marijuana sold for so-called medical marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.”
While Carolyn’s bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired, she has somewhat of a point when it comes to the feds. The Department of Justice is dead-set against medical marijuana and they have the muscle to back up their threats. It’s only a matter of time before Arizona becomes a target.
Pro-Medical Marijuana Judge in NY Dies of Cancer
Brooklyn judge Gustin Reichbach passed away this weekend due to stage 3 pancreatic cancer. A couple months ago he wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times expressing his support for medical marijuana, which he used illegally to alleviate his suffering.
"My survival has demanded an enormous price, including months of chemotherapy, radiation hell and brutal surgery... Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep," Reichback wrote. “Given my position as a sitting judge still hearing cases, well-meaning friends question the wisdom of my coming out on this issue. But I recognize that fellow cancer sufferers may be unable, for a host of reasons, to give voice to our plight. It is another heartbreaking aporia in the world of cancer that the one drug that gives relief without deleterious side effects remains classified as a narcotic with no medicinal value.
“Because criminalizing an effective medical technique affects the fair administration of justice, I feel obliged to speak out as both a judge and a cancer patient suffering with a fatal disease. I implore the governor and the Legislature of New York, always considered a leader among states, to join the forward and humane thinking of 16 other states and pass the medical marijuana bill this year. Medical science has not yet found a cure, but it is barbaric to deny us access to one substance that has proved to ameliorate our suffering.”
Under federal and NY state law, Judge Reichbach was a criminal. But what is criminal about sick people choosing what they ingest in their body? Fortunately he was never disciplined for his marijuana use, but that’s a right that belongs to every adult. Cannabis users aren’t hurting anyone, and neither was Judge Reichbach.
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