Two Arizona lawmakers are pushing for changes to current medical marijuana laws. The legality of those changes are questioned as being in violation of the Voter Protection Act because Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, was passed by voters.
Representative Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, wishes to make it illegal for female medical marijuana patients to use and possess marijuana during pregnancy. Representative Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale, is pushing to remove naturopaths and homeopaths from being allow to recommend medical marijuana. Currently, naturopaths are the doctors who certify the vast majority of medical marijuana patients in Arizona.
Townsend claims that studies are available confirming that marijuana use has a negative effect on a fetus. She said, “The harmful effects of this drug on the fetus is undeniable and empirically substantiated. Exposing a fetus to a dangerous drug is considered child abuse and therefore a woman risks losing her child to the Department of Child Safety should she or the child test positive at birth.”
Lawrence claims that naturopathic doctors and doctors of osteopathic medicine are only in the business of writing recommendations to make money by claiming: “It’s a money-making scheme. MDs and DOs will be more responsible.” He further claims that doctors other than MDs and DOs would write recommendations for people who say, “I don’t feel well today.”
Where the situations become difficult is that the Arizona Constitution does allow changes to be made to voter-approved legislation. It requires a super-majority vote to invoke such changes. Of the two lawmakers, Townsend’s proposition holds more weight for approval, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
The changes proposed by Representative Lawrence face difficulty in approval given that the voter-approved Prop 203 has written inclusions to allow naturopaths and homeopaths to write recommendations. Attorney Ryan Hurley contends that the approval of this proposed change is a clear violation of the Voter Protection Act. The act prevents lawmakers from changing anything approved from ballot voting.
An attorney with the Medical Marijuana Project, Chris Lindsey, says that changing who can write recommendations decreases access for patients. He says, “Those actions are offensive to the voters who supported Proposition 203 and to the patients for whom the measure was designed to help.”