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Medical Marijuana Debate Takes Off in Arizona

Voters in Arizona overwhelmingly approve of medical marijuana being legalized and the federal government has backed off from prosecuting state medical marijuana use. However, even with these odds, Arizona has yet to see much in the way of legislation for this issue. If you would like to know more about medical marijuana laws in Arizona, contact the Baker Law Firm at 888-309-7736.

The longstanding debate about the legality of medical marijuana is heating up. Proponents of medical marijuana suggest that cannabis can be used to relieve the severe pain and physical symptoms of people with cancer, AIDS and other seriously debilitating diseases. Opponents state that marijuana harms a person's health, reduces short-term memory and does not provide additional benefits to medicine. Some 14 states nationwide have passed medical marijuana laws, usually through ballot initiatives.

The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled in 2005 that under the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause, the federal government could regulate marijuana trade, regardless of medical marijuana's state legality. The federal government has a strong desire to control marijuana because of a prominent, underground drug trade responsible for growing and transporting millions of pounds of marijuana.

On the other hand, President Barack Obama has said that he will not pursue federal prosecution for medical marijuana use in states that currently have laws regulating and legalizing the product. This has caused the Supreme Court decision to lack the punch that was likely intended, as federal enforcement has been rendered impotent for the time being. Since Maine adopted a medical marijuana law in early November 2009, the debate about decriminalization of medical marijuana has been reinvigorated.

Arizona's Medical Marijuana Debate

The medical marijuana debate in Arizona and nationwide is a hotly contested one. Residents of Arizona may be voting again on the issue. They approved medical marijuana use in 1996, but that was removed by legislators. The people of Arizona will take up the issue again on the ballots in November of 2010. If the initiative passes, patients will be legally allowed to relieve their pain with doctor-prescribed marijuana.

The conflict between Arizona legislators and the people is evident. Overwhelmingly, Arizona voters prefer legalizing medical marijuana, and yet there has been little legislation to that effect. In fact, there are forces actively opposing medical marijuana.

On the pro side, several contentions make the debate suitable for the policy arena. Apart from the fact that proponents suggest that medical marijuana should be allowed for patients who are gravely ill, there is also an underlying policy question for lawmakers in regulating marijuana for medical use: namely, if legalizing it to some extent would provide an additional tax revenue stream.

Opponents claim that moving toward medical marijuana would lead to the slippery slope of legalizing it entirely. They also claim that marijuana dosages cannot be accurately regulated and therefore the term "medical" should not be applied to cannabis use. Statistics, however, show that medical marijuana use from illicit means can cost far more to the state in enforcement and litigation costs.

It seems that the medical marijuana debate is here to stay, at least nationallyComputer Technology Articles, until more states adopt or reject medical marijuana measures.

Article Tags: Medical Marijuana Debate, Medical Marijuana, Marijuana Debate

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At the Baker Law Firm, in Phoenix, Arizona our family law and criminal defense lawyers are dedicated to providing superior representation to our clients. We can help you determine your most favorable legal options by lending you the resources and expertise necessary. If you need an advocate for a legal claim, contact an experienced lawyer from the Baker Law Firm today. Call us to schedule a free consultation toll-free at 888-309-7736.

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