The Future of Medical Marijuana in Arizona

Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, is urging voters to reject legislation in favour of medical marijuana within the state. Humble accepts that just a few hundred people would benefit from medical marijuana each year; he refers to those who suffer from chemotherapy-induced nausea and anorexia, would benefit from using marijuana; however, he says he is cynical about the use of marijuana to alleviate pain because he says there is no evidence to support this. On being told by health chiefs from other states that the majority of marijuana cards were issued to those suffering from severe or chronic pain, he has come out in opposition to Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Initiative.

There were some statements in favour of the proposition, one coming from a survivor of brain cancer who used marijuana to help her through her chemotherapy. She continues to use it and is now chair of the Proposition 203 Campaign. It is estimated that, if the legislation goes through, medical marijuana cards will be issued in Arizona by 2013, with 39,600 registrants; a further 26,400 people will be licensed as caregivers.

The list of ‘permitted’ medical conditions would include:

  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • Nausea
  • Wasting syndrome
  • Muscle spasms
  • Severe and chronic pain

It is this last category that concerns Humble, who says, ‘by opening it up to chronic pain, what you’re really doing is letting a bunch of people through the door that are really applying for the cards for other reasons.’ He cites Colorado as an example of a state where three-quarters of the cards issued are for pain and claims that the vast majority of Colorado residents using weed to relieve pain are young – in their 20s, 30s and 40s – an age where chronic and severe pain is not general.

Humble emphasized his point of view by referring to Colorado Medical Marijuana, a corporation that advertises on site physicians specializing in marijuana recommendations.


Author Dianne Morgan

More posts by Dianne Morgan

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • tempeed says:

    Is there anyway to get this jerk fired?

  • Matthew says:

    I agree with the trend on here, doctors are so quick to be against medical marijuana but their always happy to hand out crap like oxycotin, vicodin and other stuff that is way more addictive and damaging then marijuana. i wonder if doctors are some how making less money by prescribing marijuana then giving head to their big pharm masters

  • Gary says:

    I just moved to Arizona from California And I have to say Who are you Mr. Humble to tell me what works best for my pain.

    I have had surgery on my lower spine , about to have surgery on my neck , Epilepsy , anxiety , and severe Depression . People like you just want to keep pumping me full of pills that make me feel horrible . Being from a state that allows medicinal marijuana I can tell you from experience that “oh that eeeevil drug” increased my quality of life more than you can imagine .

    Let’s see , how does it go ? Life , liberty , and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS ! You are keeping me from my constitutional right to pursue happiness . Chronic pain and depression has taken my happiness , without cannabis I live in misery . I’m sure you picture me sitting around taking bong hits all day long and partying it up , not the case . I use it like a MEDICINE . I don’t get high off of it .

    You would think someone in your position would be intelligent enough to know that after you have been using a med for a while that starts to go away . I’m not a mean person , but I wish my pain on you . Maybe then you could get a clue .

  • c d says:

    Joshua you hit the nail on the head.

    How many thousands or possibly millions of people are being prescribed oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl patches on a daily basis for their pain and how many of them become so addicted to these drugs that they start taking more than prescribed and have to get more of them illegally.

    Oxycodone and Roxycodone have created so many addicts it’s sickening. They’re legalized heroin and the Pharm. Corp. are raking in the money without any concern for the people who are dying from overdoses because they take them to get high. My sons have lost so many friends to these things and nobody cares. Here in FL its ridiculous the number of illegitimate “Pain Centers” opening up. They are busting them every day. The problem is that most of those “patients” have faked medical records so they can get the drugs and sell them.

    My sons girlfriend has cancer and was prescribed oxycontins. After a few months she just started eating them 2 or 3 at a time. Now she doesn’t even want to take them until the pain gets so bad she can’t stand it anymore. She has to worry about getting arrested for smoking marijuana to relieve nausea and make her able to eat.

    This Mr Humble is worried about people who will say they have pain just so they can smoke legally. Citing all the people in their 20’s through 40’s when chronic and severe pain is not general. Did someone actually study this? What do doctors say about pain in these age groups. Really Mr Humble, have you ever heard of juvenile or early onset rheumatoid arthritis, what about all of the people in these age groups who have severe pain from injuries recieved in accidents.

    Then there’s scoliosis, MS, MD, migraines, degenerative disc disease which I was diagnosed with in my early 40’s. Does he really think they’re better off taking these dangerous and deadly “legal” pharmacueticals than they are smoking marijuana? My best friend has a rare terminal illness and is in pain every day.

    She gets kidney stones every few months, had a double mastectomy 12 years ago and I can’t even remember all her other pain issues she has had since her early 30’s. She is now 48 and would have trouble making it through the day without marijuana. You see, she can’t take any kind of pain medication including over the counter drugs, never has been able to.

    She was exposed to toxic waste buried in her neighborhood before it was built and they believe that has caused most of her problems. She was always afraid of getting in trouble for smoking, even though it helped her pain and kept her from dying of malnutrition because she wouldn’t eat without it. She is now back in her home state where medical marijuana is legal and thank God for that. We are planning to move out to AZ next year and if this proposition passes she won’t have any worries. It won’t stop her from smoking even if it doesn’t pass. It makes her life more tolerable and there is nothing wrong with that. For her or for any others who choose to smoke it for the same reason.

    The illegal marijuana in AZ is coming in from the Mexican drug cartels, making them richer and while they kill innocent people who get in their way. How is that better Mr. Humble.

  • Jeannie says:

    I am with Joshua on this one!

    I live with chronic pain from degenerative disc disease (3 herniated and 2 bulging), and numerous knee problems. I have been prescribed Hydrocodone , Tramadol and Soma , which even though I do not take the recommended dose ( I take 1/3 of what I am prescribed ) I suffer from ‘other’ problems and side effects of these medications. I worry about the long-term affects these drugs will have on me later in life.

    One issue that no one has brought up , is that the biggest opposition to legalization of medical marijuana is the BIG PHARM. CORP. Once medical marijuana is legalized , they stand to lose MILLIONS!

    Makes me wonder if Mr. Humble is a share-holder of a Pharmaceutical company?

    In my opinion Mr. Humble is anything but humble !

  • Kimberly says:

    Andrew thank you for another intelligent post that states the facts and does not try and use scare tactics to mislead.

    Journey Healing Centers:

    Nice free advertising for your center, and such false and misleading information. You should be ashamed trying to drum up business at the expense of very sick patients who can benefit from medical marijuana.

    I am interested where you got your information regarding marijuana leading to harder drugs? According to several studies marijuana addiction is about 3%, which is far less than the those addicted to coffee and cigarettes.

    I didn’t see that you offered rehab for smokers and coffee drinkers. Of course the mental health industry loves to hype about the increased numbers of marijuana smokers in programs such as yours, but fail to inform anyone that those numbers are due to courts forcing marijuana users into rehab as part of their sentencing.

    I can also find just as many doctors, and therapists that approve of medical marijuana, so your statement is meaningless. The American Medical Association supports the use of medical marijuana. Please stop trying to dumb down the citizens of AZ, with self serving drival like yours.

  • Andy M. says:

    My response as posted to the ADHS site:

    “In states that have gone before us and allowed Medical Marijuana the average percentage of the population that uses the medicine is 1.9%. So if your Assumptions are correct maybe half of the people given licenses will be using it recreationally.

    Less than 1% of the population, and that’s a problem you’re worried about?! Half of the US population or more have tried Marijuana and despite the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to villainize and criminalize the cannabis plant and 15-20% Americans still use it on a regular basis! Millions and millions more than the 1% you’re tirading about!

    Your argument is technically valid and some people will find loopholes if they are available. That will mean that people who want to use pot will be able to(just like now), and my question is this: how in the World is that worse than them getting the plant from someone who grew it in Mexico for the Criminal Cartels?

    Does hundreds of thousands of dollars every year being directed to the State of Arizona instead of Murderous Criminals keep you up at night?

    Do you really think keeping a Safe and Natural medicine out of the hands of those who Truly Need it is more important than making sure none of the proceeds go towards our local communities and Bankrupt State?

    I suppose if I was the Chief cook at a restaurant and they wanted to add some new stuff to the menu I wouldn’t be too excited about it either. I mean the restaurant might make enough money to keep the doors open, but it’s a lot more work for me and I’m not going to get a raise am I?!

    Yup I’d definitely be selfish and protest the change even if it was better for everyone but me.”

    I’ll be surprised if it passes moderation, look what did cut the mustard on OUR official state website:
    ” Anonymous says:
    You’re right on target here brother!

    It would be one thing if the Initiative were legalizing or decriminalizing pot- that would be straightforward. But it’s not right that they’re tricking the voters and using the back door by calling this a medical marijuana law.”

    Can you say SOCK PUPPET!!! What a tool! Get back to your golf game that Phizer is paying for!

    I have cancer and I use Marijuana now and will continue to do so if this passes or doesn’t. The idea that I can get my door kicked in and arrested in my own home without so much as harming myself little alone Anyone Else is the TRUE CRIME! I am an otherwise law abiding and tax paying citizen and just so you know when you have to smoke everyday you stop getting high really quick! I just get PAIN RELIEF(!) without torching my liver, a HUGE REDUCTION IN NAUSEA and an APPETITE which has helped me TREMENDOUSLY to Stay Alive! I’m so sorry if me living offends anyone terribly!
    Andrew M. Scottsdale AZ

  • JP says:

    The problem lies in the viewpoints of people who are benefiting from the drug war, not from the use of marijuana as a medicine. These people include law enforcement, addiction counselors, and lawyers.

  • Based on 30 years of experience working with clients fighting drug and alcohol addictions, Journey Healing Centers’ licensed doctors and therapists oppose the Medical Marijuana Propositions on the Arizona (Prop 203) and South Dakota ballots, along with California’s proposed legalization for 21 (Prop 19) that will be decided by voters this November. We’re concerned about the long-term health risks, including increased substance abuse, relapses and addictions to harder drugs. If you have any drug or alcohol addiction questions, call our Free 24-Hour Hotline to speak with an Addiction Specialist: 1-866-774-5119

  • Joshua Bermudez says:

    I just think it’s ridiculous it is always some personal issue getting in the way of people medicating themselves. I can take oxycodone, vicodin, morphine, fentanyl all day and kill myself, but it’s not okay to smoke some marijuana? FML haha

    Who cares if people “might” not use it for medical. Nothing’s new. Do you see people NOT abusing anything else. Didn’t think so.

  • eric says:

    I wanted to comment on the stats givin as far as caregivers the proposition only allows for 120 dispenseraries in the entire state so how could 26000 caregivers be licensed? it seems an inflatted number to tell a certain story sqewed a certain way maybe?

    • Dr Mud says:

      The reason for the amount of caregivers, is a simple supply and demand scenario. The dispensarys are going to need as much product as they can provide. So if there aren’t ample enough caregivers there will be a shortage of usable products. figure 10:1 or maybe even 15:1 ratio, caregivers to dispensary.

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