Monday, February 4, 2013

Separate Proposed MMJ Restrictions Suck and Do Not Suck, Respectively

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Two proposals - one that makes sense in spirit and one that doesn't - from a Phoenix state lawmaker would change the way medical marijuana is handled here.

The first bill from state Sen. Kimberly Yee, a Phoenix Republican, doesn't suck ... entirely. The proposal would require dispensaries to label medical cannabis edibles as medicine. The point is to keep things like suckers, candies and cookies out of the hands of children, which is a good idea. But I am skeptical of Yee's underlying assumptions. The Arizona Republic offered an onerous quote from her over the weekend.

"We are finding the products being produced that contain marijuana appear to be geared toward the youngest consumer - we’re talking about lollipops, chocolate bars and things that appeal to a minor," the quote reads.

Now, I'm not against labeling anything sold in a dispensary as medicine. That's what it is. The problem I have is with Yee's apparent underlying belief that lollipops and chocolate bars are "geared toward the youngest consumer." Those products are all geared toward their intended consumer - me. I like lollipops and chocolate bars. I also like brownies and cookies and little hard candies. Likewise, my children like salad dressing. That doesn't mean cannabis salad dressing is "geared toward the youngest consumer." If Yee believes dispensaries are marketing cannabis for minors, she should come right out and say it. The mere fact that something is candy doesn't mean it is "geared" for minors. It means it tastes good.

I support labeling of all cannabis products as medicine, but I don't think we need any references to children. Just because a dispensary is selling a sucker doesn't mean it is nefariously aiming drug products at children. That's just silly.

Yee's second proposed change in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act does suck.

This change would allow law enforcement agencies to destroy property seized during investigations, even if the property is later deemed legal under state law. Really, Kimberly? Your neoconservative colors are showing. Coming from a Republican, this kind of legislation smacks of hypocrisy. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's the first time in more than 20 years of covering politics that I have heard any politician - Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or otherwise - call for destroying legal personal property. I could see this as remotely feasible, if the property were seized during the investigation of federal crimes. But that doesn't appear to be what Yee wants. She wants to destroy property seized in local investigations involving state law. Bad idea.

Her assertion is that the cops shouldn't be required to maintain plants, should they suddenly have some they found in a grow room. She thinks police should be able to destroy them, because having them is against federal law. Well then, maybe the police shouldn't seize them in the first place. Hmmmmm.

So, I'm with you in spirit on some points, Kimberly, but a lot of what you are suggesting and implying is wrongheaded. That's an old-school way of saying it sucks. The changes to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act would require a three-fourths majority to pass, because they are changes to a voter-approved law.

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