MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW IN AZ
In the November 2010 election, Arizona voters will decide whether or not to pass Proposition 203 , a proposal to permit the legal use of medical marijuana. The ABC15 investigators have gone undercover in California to explore the reasons why opponents worry it will bring more crime, substance abuse and corruption to our state, and why supporters say many seriously ill people will benefit if the proposition passes.
If passed, Proposition 203 would allow patients with specific debilitating medical conditions to obtain medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. A patient would only be able to obtain 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana every two weeks. The medical marijuana would be regulated and distributed from a nonprofit dispensary. The number of dispensaries would be restricted to one per every 10 pharmacies in the state. The Arizona Department of Health Services would be responsible for regulating the process of distribution.
CALIFORNIA’S MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW
California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1996, but a lack of regulations created several problems, according to law enforcement organizations in the Los Angeles area.
While the laws in California are not the same as what is being proposed in Arizona, some worry the struggles occurring in California could also happen in Arizona.
”It’s evolved into its own life about…people using this to their advantage, to just smoke marijuana,” said Captain Ralph Ornelas, the head of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau.
Detectives from Ornelas’ bureau told ABC15 fewer than five percent of the people with a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana in Los Angeles County actually used the marijuana for medical reasons.
ABC15 UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION
The ABC15 Investigators have traveled throughout Southern California to learn more about medical marijuana and how it is used and distributed.
On the beach-front walk in Venice, California, various medical marijuana doctors’ offices stand out among store fronts and street performers. At the Kush Doctor, a large sign, soliciting patients, sits in front of the building: Walk-ins Welcome. The Doctor is in! Medical Marijuana.
A man dressed in all black, wearing sunglasses, and a black hat, stands in front of the building, holding a similar sign with a large marijuana leaf painted on the front of it. His sign says, “Kush Doctor.”
The ABC15 Investigators watched the man call out to the people as they walked by, telling them the Kush Doctor was in his office and available to make recommendations for people who needed medical marijuana.
Kush, according to the man with the sign, “is the best strain of marijuana….It’s very strong,” he said.
“Kush Doctor! Medical Marijuana is legal," he announced. “You can smoke, possess, and grow legally, medical marijuana, in California. Get legal. Get your license now,” he suggested.
So, what did he tell the ABC15 Investigators when we inquired about getting a doctor’s recommendation? How easy would it be to get the drugs? Could something similar happen in Arizona?
On Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 10pm, the ABC15 Investigators will take you inside our undercover California investigation.
See what happened when we rode along with undercover narcotics detectives and investigated crime trends in other states. Find out why opponents are so worried about crime and substance abuse and why supporters told us Arizona’s laws would be very different from California’s.
You’ll also hear from a patient who claims medical marijuana saved her life. Do you have strong feelings about the proposition? Click "add a comment" right now to voice your opinion, then watch Thursday at 10pm for our full ABC15 Investigation.
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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