NORML Phoenix Rallies Arizona Legislators to Approve Medical Marijuana Funding Research For Veterans

NORML Phoenix reports on the strong showing of veterans, research advocates, elected representatives, and others who gathered in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 2 to rally in support of research into medical marijuana for veterans with PTSD. The group joined together to raise awareness of Senator Kimberly Yee’s blocking of HB 2333, an Arizona bill that could partially fund research MAPS’ medical marijuana research. “Instead of listening to the voice of reason, or any voice at all… she stops the democratic process so that these veterans cannot get the treatment they know works for them,” explains Daron Babin of NORML.

Originally appearing here.

In response to Republican Senator Kimberly Yee’s choice to kill Arizona HB2333 before it came up for Senate Approval, the Arizona Veterans Assistance Committee, made up of members of NORML Phoenix, supported a rally Wednesday near the Arizona State Capitol at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza Wednesday April 2nd, 2014 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The rally was in support of HB2333, a bill that had already been passed by the Arizona State House that would use the state’s medical marijuana fund to pay for researching the use of medical marijuana for treating veterans with PTSD. The rally was also in protest to Senator Kimberly Yee’s blocking the bill from getting a hearing/vote in the Senate Education Committee, despite having passed the House by an overwhelming vote of 52-5 with bi-partisan support.

“With such broad support on both sides of the aisle in the House, and from the FDA itself. It’s baffling why a single Senator who’s platform seems a compassionate one…actually slams the door in the faces of these brave men & women who as combat Veterans have endured much for our freedom, for Senator Yee’s freedom. Yet instead of listening to the voice of reason, or any voice at all…she stops the democratic process so that these Veterans cannot get the treatment they know works for them,” says Daron Babin, Communications Director for AVAC/NORML Phoenix.

He goes on to say, “Sad to see that as we prepared for this event…a Veteran suffering from PTSD, lost his battle with it at Fort Hood in Texas but not without additional innocent lives being taken. This is a real problem, with lives at stake. When will our elected officials actually listen?”

Arizona has collected millions of dollars from its medical marijuana program. A bill being considered by lawmakers would give the Arizona Department of Health Services discretion to use some of this surplus funding to study the medical benefits of marijuana, without burdening local businesses or individuals with additional taxes.

HB2333 would allow for protected funds, which currently total more than $6M and are collected through the sales of medical marijuana cards to qualified patients in Arizona, to be allocated for study in a university setting “with the intent to conduct thorough, objective clinical research on the safety, efficacy and adverse effects of marijuana.” The study would support the Arizona economy, as it requires all studies to be conducted in state. The bill fixes a problem facing administrators of the Medical Marijuana Act who are restricted to using funds specifically in furtherance of the Act. HB2333 does not cost taxpayers any money rather, it would put existing money to work for the betterment of Arizona.
Advocates are asking for Arizona State Senate President Andy Biggs to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote, thereby bypassing the need for a hearing in committee.

“As an answer from the Cannabis Consumers of Arizona to Senator Kimberly Yee’s blockage of the HB2333 Medical Marijuana Research Bill, the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws will be using their own political option and will launch a recall campaign to remove Senator Yee.

During this campaign, we will educate Arizonans about this block of democracy, and the twenty two American Veterans who lose their lives daily to suicide. Our natural medicine has been proven to help the symptoms of PTSD, and the federal government has already approved this research. It’s time our Arizona lawmakers understand that our organization will not allow the democratic process to be shut down by one of its own…says Kathy Inman, State Director of NORML in Arizona.

NORML Phoenix will be accompanied by Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Americans for Safe Access, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), CANNA heal NOW, Drug Policy Alliance Arizona NORML, Safer Arizona, Freedom to Choose,Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association (AZCNA) and the Phoenix Cannabis Coalition.