Not Supporting Prop 205
I STRONGLY support the legalization of marijuana but I'm voting no on Prop 205. I'm not a prohibitionist. I think the reefer madness propaganda campaign against Prop 205 is ridiculous. I'm naturopathic physician that provides medical marijuana certifications. I believe in medical marijuana - like many I have seen the miracles of this plant. I believe in recreational marijuana too - just not this way.
First, props to all the hard work done throughout the state in efforts to get legalizing marijuana on the ballot. There are many reasons why I'm voting no THIS time. (I'm intentionally avoiding the legal points because Im not a lawyer. But its important to remember that minor infractions can lead easily lead to felonies). I'll boil it down to a few points against 205 that aren't talked about
This is not a step forward. Many folks I hear that are voting YES say its not a perfect law but a step forward - "we can change it later." If this law passes - we are stuck with it. This law is a VOTERS INITIATIVE - It can be changed by only 2 nearly impossible ways.
1) The Arizona Senate/Legislation
a) By a super majority vote (2/3+)
Pass an change that "furthers the intent" of the initiative.
A New initiative—starting all over—back to the streets collecting signatures and back to re-writing the proposition. Arizona legislation to date has NOT been an overwhelming strong supporter of medical OR recreational marijuana. The chance of change through the ladies and men in Phoenix currently is slim to none (especially with the needs to get a 2/3 majority vote). A new voters initiative? If the law passes there will be less incentive to make this happen. I fear people will become complacent with a law that is less than mediocre.
The Department of Marijuana licenses and Control: These are the folks that will be appointed by the Governor and will take over both the medical and recreational marijuana programs. They can amend any of the rules of the medical marijuana program and will take over all the monies. The governing board of this department will consist of the director and the marijuana commission - that consists of 7 members (4 of which have NO financial interest in any marijuana establishments and 3 that DO).The Governor will appoint an Enforcement Officer that will have "all the powers and duties of a peace officer" and create an internal task force for policing illegal activity. If this prop is the legalization of marijuana then why are we OK with creating more policing of marijuana activity? Why are individuals with financial ties to dispensaries allowed to make up almost 50% of the governing body? This is a frighting amount of control. Its too much overlap between the governing board, the making and the enforcement the rules and who they are governing and making the rules for.
Virtual elimination of free enterprise: There will be more jobs if prop 205 passes but there won't be ANY new businesses until 2021. 2017-2021 all the licenses for recreational marijuana will solely be given to CURRENT medical marijuana dispensaries. In 2021 The Department of Marijuana licenses and Control may begin to accept new applications for marijuana establishments, but if they have greater applications than allowable, any application that is from a previous medical marijuana dispensary will be chosen first over any new folks that are competing for an application - this is forever.
Laws of licenses for cultivation are also skewed towards current medical marijuana dispensaries. It will be a tiered system. Only the highest tier, allowing UNLIMITED marijuana production, will be given to the current dispensaries— everyone else will have restrictions.
As physician and someone that believes in small business I will not support this. There are many talented people that didn't have the $150,000, the luck of the lottery system to 'win' the opportunity of a medical marijuana dispensary, and people that aren't even born yet that will have a major disadvantage in the future business of the marijuana industry. Simply because the laws strongly support the current dispensaries. Like any business dispensaries across the board vary in quality and service. This has been a great frustration. Lives have been saved and radically changed for the better with help from many dispensaries. There has also been situations where MEDICAL cannabis has contained mold, fungus, bugs, situations of poor information and people ripped off (80 year old woman with stage 3 lung cancer that bought $2100 of concentrated hemp oil believing it was a cancer cure comes to mind). Even if every current dispensary was perfect—they still deserve competition - immediately and the in future.
Competition will allow the best to rise to the top. Get out and vote and vote educated.