The voters of Arizona passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act in 2010, yet to this day politicians continue to attack the industry and use medical marijuana as a pawn in their political games.
Perhaps, nowhere is this more evident than in the current legislative attacks against the Voter Protection Act (VPA) and the citizen initiative process. The VPA was passed by Arizona voters in 1998 and was intended to prevent legislators from overturning or tampering with voter-passed initiatives. However, every year many legislators attempt to pass legislation which would undermine, overturn, or simply ignore VPA provisions altogether by trying to weaken voter approved initiatives. And, this year the legislature has gone a step further by passing bills which will create significant barriers for citizens to get initiatives on the ballot in the first place. It’s an attack on the constitutional rights of every citizen.
It’s bad enough that these attacks are happening, but even worse is that many legislators have used the Medical Marijuana Act as the basis for their attacks on voter rights. They’ve made wildly inaccurate claims about the impacts of marijuana, vilified many of the tax-paying people of the industry, and attempted to make it harder for certified patients to get access to medical marijuana. These legislators have declared war on medical marijuana and voters’ rights, and it won’t stop without deliberate, professional representation focused on mainstreaming medical marijuana in Arizona’s culture and economy.
That’s why a coalition of patients, providers, dispensaries, growers, and other stakeholders have come together to form the Arizona Medical Marijuana Action PAC. Known as AMMA-PAC, the organization has been working to protect the medical marijuana industry from legislative meddling, while also promoting smart and responsible legislation intended to strengthen the industry, expand public education about marijuana, and foster constructive dialogue to dispel the myths propagated by the opponents of medical marijuana.
Unfortunately, the future of marijuana will always be caught up in political games. Our opponents will use rhetoric, inaccurate information, and outright lies to try and take away our rights and stop any legal use of marijuana in Arizona - either under current law or any future efforts towards expanded legalization of marijuana. AMMA-PAC will continue working to stop these efforts, protect the industry and its patients, and work to support positive public policies that will support the legal and responsible use of marijuana.
The writers of the Article are AMMA PAC Chairman, John Hartsell, Treasurer Taylor Swick, and Former Representative Chad Campbell of Strategies 360. For more on AMMA PAC or to learn more about our work, visit www.ammapac.com.