Phoenix, AZ – This week Governor Doug Ducey stopped a bipartisan effort to support a new industry and create jobs for Arizonans. Ducey’s veto of SB1337, which would have opened Arizona up to industrial hemp cultivation, is the latest example of his flawed mathematics regarding safe and economically viable marijuana policy. In his veto letter, Governor Ducey cited a lack of funding to implement the policy as his rationale, despite the fact that no evidence supports that statement and the new industry would have been an economic boon for Arizona.
“This once again shows that the opponents of safe uses for anything that’s marijuana related are driven by political ideologies that aren’t based in scientific or economic facts,” stated John Hartsell, Chairman of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Action PAC (AMMA PAC). “There is absolutely no evidence which supports Governor Ducey’s reason for this veto and it contradicts his own words about Arizona being ‘Open for Business’. It’s just more of the same fear-mongering aimed at undermining safe and legal uses for marijuana and hemp related products.”
In response to this latest veto, AMMA-PAC is committing itself to an advocacy and education agenda which is more proactive than the one they have already implemented during the first five months of 2017.
“In the less than 72 hours since the veto, we’ve reached over 10,000 people, had approximately 2,300 engagements via social media, and have seen almost 450 people visit the Governor’s contact page through our email network,” continued Hartsell. “And this is just the beginning. Starting next week, we will be coordinating phone banks, letter writing campaigns, and various educational and advocacy events throughout Arizona for the remainder of 2017.”
Additionally, a new Arizona Republic article shows the Governor falsely claimed the 2016 ballot measure to legalize marijuana, Proposition 205, would have been a “net financial loser for our state” during a speech at the Marijuana Education Summit on April 20, 2017 in Atlanta, GA. As The Arizona Republic’s fact checking team points out in an article posted on May 24th (click here to read the article), the Governor’s claim simply can’t be supported by the facts.
“Enough is enough. We will not stand idly by while our opponents perpetuate false myths about the marijuana industry,” concluded Hartsell.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Association is a Patients First organization seeking to deliver greater access to certification to legally purchase and possess medicinal cannabis. Our organization works closely with patients, dispensaries, ancillary services, and products to ensure all points of view are adequately represented at Arizona's legislature.
UPDATE: Fact check: Ariz. Gov. Doug Ducey claims legalizing marijuana would cost the state more than it would generate in taxes. Read the entire article here...
This alert is about taking action! You are just a few clicks away from telling Governor Doug Ducey that you are fed up with his tired, old adherence to the new conservative playbook. He says he's a Libertarian at his roots but, time and again his actions regarding Cannabis and its medical or industrial use do not align with Libertarian values.
Here's how to take action:
I urge you to reconsider your position on this issue and work with our representatives from AMMA PAC to bring this important, new economic driver to Arizona.
4. Paste it in the body of your "Comment"
5. Sign & Submit!
AMMA PAC's John Hartsell and Taylor Swick presented at Green Star Doctors' INDICAlife event in Scottsdale on the "Busting the Myths and Misconceptions of the Medical Marijuana Law" panel.
This second installment of the breakdown of the Canadian Cannabis task force report will look more deeply into the statements of the task force regarding the current Canadian attitude toward Cannabis and whether or not it should be legalized as well as statements about the need for research and evidence.
Throughout the information gathering process, the members of the task force stated that they had “heard anxiety about such things as driving, youth access and ‘sending the wrong message,’ but [they] also heard a desire to move away from a culture of fear around cannabis and to acknowledge the existence of more positive medical and social attributes.” They went on to state that they knew there are law enforcement challenges that have happened due to medical Cannabis dispensaries in Canada that are currently doing business that needed examining, as well as new research findings that have come about that have to be addressed.
The report points out that “the current paradigm of cannabis prohibition has been with us for almost 100 years. We cannot, and should not, expect to turn this around overnight. While moving away from cannabis prohibition is long overdue, we may not anticipate every nuance of future policy; after all, our society is still working out issues related to the regulation of alcohol and tobacco. We are aware of the shortcomings in our current knowledge base around cannabis and the effects of cannabis on human health and development. As a result, the recommendations laid out in this report include appeals for ongoing research and surveillance, and a flexibility to adapt to and respond to ongoing and emerging policy needs.”
The task force further showed its understanding about the lack of full scientific Cannabis knowledge when it made the following statements:
"[A]ll of our recommendations would be based on clear, well-documented evidence. However, we recognize that cannabis policy, in its many dimensions, lacks comprehensive, high-quality research in many areas. On many issues throughout our discussions and deliberations, we have found that evidence is often non-existent, incomplete or inconclusive.
Being mindful of these limitations is imperative. It is more appropriate to refer to our recommendations as "evidence-informed" rather than "evidence-based", given that the relationship between evidence and policy is complex and that our recommendations were influenced by the concerns, priorities and values expressed by stakeholders and members of the public, as well as by the available scientific evidence.
Moreover, a clear reality underpins our discussions and deliberations: encouraging and enabling more research and ensuring systematic monitoring, evaluation and reporting on our experiences is essential to good public policy in this area."
Currently it seems that many times American policy-makers allow the lack of a full understanding through scientific research to be the reason that no proactive policy should happen. In comparison, our Canadian counterparts clearly have determined that even though there is lacking evidence, policy must move forward. Then, after this happens, the government should also strive to push for more research. This difference in viewpoint is now allowing the Canadian government to move forward toward country-wide legalization whereas the United States federal government is pushing back heavily against legal Cannabis use country-wide.
The Canadian task force did not continue without first seeking as much in the way of reasoned research as it could find. For example, the task force stated that it determined the following potential risks that Cannabis legalization could pose to Canadians:
The panel hoped to avoid substantial risks associated with consuming Cannabis at too early an age. It did this by setting a minimum age for consumption of Cannabis at 18 federally and allowing individual provincial governments to set higher minimum ages if deemed necessary. It did this even though it determined that there was “no clear scientific evidence to identify a ‘safe’ age of consumption, but agreed that having a minimum age would reduce harm.”
It also determined that setting Cannabis legalization as an adult activity would reinforce the need for someone to use their own reasoned adult decision-making abilities when deciding whether or not to use Cannabis. When determining the minimum age, the task force was apparently told most often by healthcare professionals that a minimum age of 21 was best. The task force ended up setting the age at 18 instead because it was determined that provincial “governments should do all that they can to discourage and delay cannabis use” through “[r]obust preventive measures, including advertising restrictions and public education”.
In the end, the task force was able to adequately determine from the currently available research and evidence that Cannabis is safe to legalize nationally and was able to find specific best practices like the minimum legal age for consumption. This model is something that government officials in the United States should look to as a way to get past the fear of Cannabis in general and the excuse of there not being enough research to go forward specifically.
Source: Government of Canada: Final Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation
It is now a likelihood that Cannabis will be legal for adult use as throughout Canada early as July 2018 now that a governmental task force issued its final report on why it is best to tax and regulate Cannabis across the country. The framework report can be found here. In this report the Canadian task force determined that all Canadian citizens over the age of 18 should be legally permitted to use and even grow certain amounts of Cannabis. This determination came because of the significant evolution of access to Cannabis in Canada that has happened over the last two decades through the medical Cannabis system that Canada now has. As the report states, what had been learned over time from a medical Cannabis economy, translates to informed thinking by the task force members on the benefits of non-medical Cannabis.
The report goes on to say that “A sophisticated commercial industry that cultivates and distributes cannabis by mail and courier to individuals who require it for medical purposes, and who are under the care of a physician or nurse practitioner, exists in Canada today, with 36 licensed producers in operation at the time of writing this report. This new industry operates under the authority of federal regulations (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations) which set out product quality control measures and strict security standards to protect public health and safety. Task Force members had the opportunity to visit some of these producers and were impressed by the sophistication and quality of their work.” It continues by saying that a parallel and illicit market for non-medical Cannabis operates in Canada that must be stopped to protect public safety.
When looking at public safety, the task force went on to examine the comparable hazards of Cannabis compared to alcohol and tobacco. It found that based on a 2009 World Health Organization (WHO) ranking of leading global risk factors for disease, Cannabis is not even included in the list but that it does include alcohol (ranked 3rd) and tobacco (ranked 6th). For reasons like this the task force came to the conclusion that Cannabis regulation should be reduced and that, as is the current policy shift, Canada should continue to more heavily regulate alcohol and tobacco. It also included a hope that as Cannabis is more fully regulated for legal adult use, that lessons are learned from the historical attempts to regulate tobacco and alcohol and the many problems that happened then.
In the report, the task force created a series of guiding principles. These principles are:
To get more information on the determinations in specific areas of this policy statement continue to check in the upcoming weeks for additional AMMA PAC blog posts. These additional posts will more specifically look into the task force recommendations by subject matter.
Source: Government of Canada: Final Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation