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Legalizing Weed: 4 Quotes From Lawmakers After Medical Marijuana Became Legal in Arizona

By    |   Monday, 18 May 2015 02:50 PM

While Arizona is known for having some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, in 2010 voters approved a medical marijuana initiative. The law allows for medicinal use for weed, but is highly regulated by the state, requiring identification cards and dispensaries to be authorized by the state.

Here’s what lawmakers had to say after the legalization of medical marijuana in Arizona:

1. Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix, would like to see the state move towards an all-out legalization of pot, noting the medical marijuana law has problems:

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“We've seen issues with our medical-marijuana system ... but it's nearly impossible to come back at the Legislature and adjust it because we need 75 percent of the Legislature (to approve any changes to a voter-approved measure)," he said according to The Arizona Republic. "This would give us more leeway. If there were unforeseen consequences, we could easily come back and adjust it the next year."

2. “It was the voters that clearly supported medical marijuana in Arizona, so it’s the job of the Legislature to ensure that the law is being implemented properly,” said Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, according to the Arizona Capitol Times.

She was speaking in regards to shutting down dispensaries that were not clearly labeling their product in concern for public safety.

3. Yee is very vocal in her concerns regarding the state’s medical marijuana law. In 2013 she addressed the House Judiciary Committee hoping to get the laws tightened because she didn’t think people really didn’t know what they were voting for in 2010, The Arizona Republic reported.

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“I know there are some states that are moving towards recreational use of marijuana. I don’t believe that’s something this state should (do). The voters in Arizona voted for this medical- marijuana act because it was medically based, and that’s what these bills are about, keeping it medically based. I’m finding by talking to a number of individuals in Arizona they didn’t realize some of the other elements contained in the act. For instance, allowing any person of any age, even babies and children, to have medical-marijuana use. If they had known that, they may not have voted on it.”

4. Since the medical marijuana bill passed, Arizona has collected millions of dollars in funds, earmarking them for research and education. However, none of the money was spent, which inspired House Bill 2333. The bill would allow the Arizona Department of Health Services the discretion in regards to the funding, which some lawmakers would like see go towards studies to help military veterans suffering from treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder.

“This bill will help a lot of people. Not just combat veterans, but people with chronic illness and pain who can’t find relief anywhere else. Whether you are for recreational use or against it, we should at least know what marijuana does. It’s research – that’s all we are trying to do,” said the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Ethan Orr of Tucson, in a press release.

The main opposition to the bill is Sen. Yee, who would like to see the funds used for drug prevention.

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While Arizona is known for having some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, in 2010 voters approved a medical marijuana initiative. The law allows for medicinal use for weed, but is highly regulated by the state, requiring identification cards and dispensaries to be authorized by state.
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