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Medical Marijuana: Are You OK With It In Your Neighborhood?


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PHOENIX - The nation faces tough questions in tough times, and there are people on both sides of every issue.

Arizona is no different. But who’s saying what about the issues important to Arizonans?

Each Sunday, ABC15.com debuts an Arizona issue - along with two opposing sides on the topic.

This week we're tackling the debate on whether or not you’re OK with medical marijuana grown in your neighborhood.

State Representative Kimberly Yee of District 10 says the new law leads the state down a “hazy” path for our local communities and family neighborhoods. Yee says companies might think twice before doing business nearby a marijuana dispensary.

Gayle Palms with the Phoenix Holistic Health Center says with the new laws incorporated, there are better guidelines for dispensaries to follow. Palms says the state has ways to mandate and control the grow houses preventing any illegal activities.

So, are you OK with medical marijuana being produced in your neighborhood?

“Security is strict and supervised”: By Gayle Palms with the Phoenix Holistic Health Center

This is about individuals in Phoenix, AZ who are suffering and want a safe alternative to prescription drugs. What we’re forgetting is that Cannabis will require a prescription from a Medical Doctor just like any other prescription such as oxycontin, morphine etc.

The security is strict and supervised. It’s up to a qualified Doctor to screen patients for cannabis prescriptions.

Cannabis patients require a medically validated "recommendation letter" to enter a collective. I believe by legalizing medical cannabis dispensary’s in AZ is an opportunity for us to help people who are sick to have access to an Herb that works so much better than some of the currently prescribed drugs out there. This is a chance for us to show some compassionate care for people with debilitating illnesses.

What we’re forgetting is the medical marijuana laws of Arizona have evolved from the lessons learned from the other 15 states. With the new laws incorporated, we have incorporated better guidelines for dispensary’s to follow. The state has ways to mandate and control the grow houses preventing any illegal activities.

Millions of Americans use cannabis because they find it useful as a substitution for many pharmaceutical drugs. It can help to alleviate depression or anxiety, help with sleep, increase appetite. Many Americans describe some or all of their marijuana use as “medical”.

I’ve worked with cancer patients for a long time. These cancer patients are well educated on the usefulness of the herb. (Trust me, no one has researched this topic more than someone who has been given the news that they have cancer). I’m told it helps with pain so they can cut down or discontinue the use of drugs like morphine and oxycontin. These drugs have been know to shut down the bowels. Some of the side effects of chemotherapy include: abdominal pain, anemia, anxiety, lost appetite, bone pain, bleeding problems, bronchitis, bruising, chest pains, chills, confusion, cramping, deep vein thrombosis, depression, dizziness, electrolyte imbalance, genital pain, glaucoma, hair loss, headaches, hearing loss, heart failure, hemorrhagic cystitis (blood in urine), hyperglycemia, impotence, infection, insomnia, itching, joint pain, kidney problems, loss of libido liver problems, low blood counts, lung problems, memory loss, mouth sores, muscle pain, nausea, nervousness, numbness, photosensitivity, pneumonia, rapid heart beat, rectal bleeding, ringing ears, seizures, shortness of breath, swelling, thyroid hormone complications, urinary tract infection, vaginal bleeding, vomiting, weakness and weight changes.
Medical Cannabis use has a history stretching back thousands of years. In prebiblical times, the plant was used as medicinal tea in China, a stress antidote in India, and a pain-reliever for earaches, childbirth and more throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

In recent decades, medical researchers have investigated Cannabis effects on various kinds of pain -- from damaged nerves in people with HIV, diabetes, and spinal cord injury; to cancer; and multiple sclerosis .Cannabis has also been hypothesized to help with nausea induced by Chemotherapy and antiretroviral therapy, and with severe loss of appetite as seen in people with the Aids wasting syndrome and various cancers.

The actions of the herb are due to the active ingredients tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and some 60 other cannabinoids, which mimic the action of chemicals that exist naturally in the brain. Those cannabinoids activate receptors in our nerves, triggering physiological responses. Responses that help in pain reduction and a better sense of well-being.

Most of the negative concerns seem to be based entirely on it’s recreational use smoked in it’s raw form and usually never mentioned the plethora of factual scientific research.

By a narrow margin, Arizona voters passed an initiative last November legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana, putting into motion a measure that will have profound effects on Arizona’s workplaces, communities and neighborhoods.

The new law leads the state down a “hazy” path for our local communities and family neighborhoods.

Arizonans will now face workplaces where workers could be under the influence of a drug that the federal government classifies as a banned Schedule 1 controlled substance. As a result, employers who have undertaken strict measures to ensure a “drug free” workplace must now permit employees to use the drug. Meanwhile, workers will be working alongside co-workers who could be under the influence of the drug.

The potential effects on workplace safety and productivity are immense. That is why I sponsored House Bill 2541, which establishes a clear definition for the concept of “impairment,” something the ballot initiative failed to do. While the ballot initiative allows employers to take disciplinary action against employees who are impaired, employers deserve clear guidelines on how they can deal with employees under the influence of marijuana or other prescribed drugs in the workplace.

My bill also permits employers to reassign to a different position those employees who might be under the influence of a prescribed drug, including marijuana, which could negatively affect their ability to perform in a “safety sensitive” position. This is common sense. If an employee is under the influence of a drug, then employers should have the ability to protect themselves and their business from liability.

The new law could also have broader economic impacts. Consider the case of a large manufacturer located in my north Phoenix legislative district. The company is considering investing millions to renovate its facility. But the company is taking great pause to make this investment because the neighborhood in which it is located is the site of a new marijuana dispensary.

Companies consider where they invest based on a host of factors, including the quality of the neighborhood in which they are located. If companies are concerned that marijuana dispensaries will attract a customer base they find undesirable, then local communities could lose out on the opportunity to attract and retain good jobs. From the Fortune 500 corporation to the local mom and pop shop, companies might think twice before doing business nearby a marijuana dispensary—and in this economy, we can’t afford further job loss.

City councils and their planning and zoning commissions should encourage public input when determining where to locate dispensaries. Local residents have an important voice in keeping the integrity of our neighborhoods, where our families live and our children go to school.

Medical marijuana is now the law of the land, but we should do all we can to implement the law in a way that respects the concerns of employers, encourages workplace safety, and reflects the character of our local communities and neighborhoods.

NewsHawk: MedicalNeed: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: abc15.com
Copyright: 2011 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Contact: Contact Us
Website: Medical marijuana: Is it OK in your Arizona backyard?
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