Tag Archives: marijuana

Bills! The Good, the Bad, the Ugly & Mine

opiate epidemic

Moms are visiting Legislators and supporting my bill HB2172, which offers medical treatment instead of jail during an overdose event.

After the first three weeks of the 53rd Legislature, things are starting to heat up. Hundreds of bills have been filed, and as usual, they run the gamut from boring to hopeful to dangerous.

I want to personally thank Speaker J.D. Mesnard for assigning some Democratic Party bills and some more moderate Republican bills to committee. (In recent Legislatures, bills from these sponsors were never assigned to committee. Of course, it’s up to the committee chair to put the bills on their agendas, but getting assigned to a committee is a welcome first step, in my book.)

Assignment to committee and very orderly and cordial floor meetings are positive notes in what has been a fast-paced time. Last week we shift from third gear to fifth gear and floor debates start on Tuesday, January 31. If you like reality TV, you should watch your Legislature in action. (The Arizona Capitol Television link on the Arizona Legislature’s website will take you to live proceedings and archives.)

All action and inaction on the floor of the House and Senate is televised– as are the Democratic and Republican Caucus Meetings (10 a.m. on Tuesdays, where we discuss the bills with staff, audience members, and paid lobbyists) and all committee meetings. Representatives have TVs on our desks, so we can keep up with the action while doing email, etc. Rep. Randy Friese’s motorcycle bill (HB2046) crashed and burned in the Transportation Committee but not without over an hour of testimony pro and con (bikers vs doctors). It was TV worth watching– as was the lengthy preemption discussion about local IDs and “illegals”.

When a variety of bills are heard, more constituent voices are heard. Here are a variety of bills that are coming down the pike this week (or in the near future). This is by no means an exhaustive list. Every committee meets every week, and agendas can include any number of bills. (Translation: there’s a lot happening.)

My Bills

HCR2012 (Powers Hannley) ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment in Arizona. (Assigned to Judiciary Committee in the House, headed by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth.) We only need three states to ratify the ERA to meet the requirement for a new amendment to the US Constitution. The ERA deserves to be debated in committee and on the Floor of the House and the Senate. Senator Martin Quezada has sponsored SCR1003— a mirror bill in the Senate (assigned to Government, headed by Senator John Kavanagh). Farnsworth and Kavanagh are blocking the ERA in the Legislature. If you think women’s rights should be debated and voted on in the Arizona Legislature, contact those two and your representatives and senators this week to get it on an agenda.

HB2172 (Powers Hannley) offers medical treatment instead of arrest in overdose situations. (Assigned to Judiciary, Farnsworth, again.) Thanks to the Arizona Republic‘s EJ Montini for giving a shoutout to this bill every time it has been proposed. Yes, this will save lives. Unfortunately, Farnsworth told me that he “doesn’t want to offer immunity to criminals” and refuses to hear this. If you think drugs addicts deserve a second chance at life, contact his office and encourage him to allow public testimony on this. There are several Moms lobbying Legislators to hear this bill– including the two pictured with this blog post.

HB2336 (Powers Hannley) allows terminally ill patients to make the decision to take their own lives with the help of their physician and medical team. (Assigned to Health Committee.)

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Ducey Uses ‘Reefer Madness’ Scare Tactics to Fight Marijuana Legalization (video)

marijuana leafGovernor Doug Ducey and a representative from a big-pharma-funded PAC snuck into midtown Tucson this week to give business people a one-sided argument on why they should band together to stop Prop 205, the marijuana legalization initiative that will be on the Nov. 8 ballot in Arizona.

Today’s Arizona Daily Star attributes so many misconceptions about marijuana to Ducey and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk (of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy) that I’m not sure where to begin. I’ll take them one by one– after the jump.

First, let’s look at the scientific and public health reasons for legalization and for easier access to marijuana for the general adult population. New research on the medical uses of marijuana are being released every day. 

Medical Marijuana Reduces Medicare Prescriptions and Costs

A July 2016 study published in Health Affairs showed an overall drop in prescription drug use among Medicare patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The 17 states that have medical marijuana also saved $165.2 million in Medicare costs because patients switched to pot.  The research group concluded that if medical marijuana were legal nationwide, the US could see a $468 million decrease in Medicare prescription costs.

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Powers for the People: Pamela Powers Hannley Seeks LD9 House Seat

Pamela Powers Hannley

Pamela Powers Hannley, MPH

Yes, indeed, as has been hinted on this blog, I am running for the Arizona House to serve Legislative District 9.

No, I don’t need a psychiatric evaluation.

I’m running because I’m tired of government against the people. I am running for the Arizona Legislature because I want to bring back government of the people, by the people and for the people. Republican Party policies have starved the Arizona economy and thrown many citizens into financial ruin.

GOP leaders bow to dark money donors and ignore the needs of Arizona workers. They have repeatedly cut taxes for the 1% and for corporations, while allowing the people of Arizona to toil away for chronically low wages, that are well below national standards. Their policies have hindered Arizona’s competitiveness by allowing our roads and bridges to crumble and by whittling away k-12 education, vocational education, community colleges, and universities.

Arizona has been stuck in a ditch since the Tea Party took over in 2010. It’s time to take back our government, end austerity policies that are hurting Arizona families, and get back on the road to prosperity.

My slogan is “Powers for the People” because I will work for you… real people… not for corporate people. I am proud to run as a Clean Elections candidate because I believe voters– not money– should decide who runs our country.

I am running on a platform that focuses on ending wasteful spending, raising revenue, and saving money to fund jobs, infrastructure, and education. Learn more after the jump.

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New York Times Editorial Board Nods Toward #Marijuana Legalization

marijuana leafIt’s been a big week for marijuana legalization in the Americas– with a Mexican court allowing limited cannabis growing rights, new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing he intends to make recreational use legal, and Presidential Candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introducing a legalization bill in the US Senate. Whew.

Also this week– the editorial board of the New York Times published a pro-legalization piece, in which they strongly encourage President Obama and the Congress to consider Sanders’ legislation which would remove marijuana’s Schedule 1 (no redeeming medical value) designation under the Controlled Substances Act. This would allow states to make their own laws and open up interstate commerce. (I am assuming that this bill also would allow pot monies to be banked. Currently, since pot is illegal on the federal level, the Federal Reserve System won’t allow pot growers and dispensaries to deposit their funds in banks. This would be a huge boon to the economy on many levels– sales tax, savings from reduced incarceration, and flooding banks with previously stored cash.)

From the New York Times

What’s needed now is responsible leadership from President Obama and Congress. They ought to seriously consider the kind of legislation Mr. Sanders has proposed. His bill would remove marijuana, or “marihuana” as it is called in federal law, from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, which is meant for drugs that have a high potential for abuse and no medical use.

This change would allow states to decide if they want to make the drug legal and how to regulate it without being limited by federal law. Mr. Sanders’s bill would also make it illegal to transport the drug across state lines. If Congress is unwilling to act, Mr. Obama should move on his own by ordering the attorney general to request a study by the secretary of health and human services, which would be needed if the administration is to remove the drug from Schedule I on its own.

A growing group of activists, judges and lawmakers is showing the world a path to more sensible drug policies. Mr. Obama and Congress should join them.

It’s time.

Cross-posted from the Tucson-Progressive.com.

Smoke ‘Em, If You Got ‘Em: Bernie Sanders Introduces Marijuana Legalization in US Senate

Bernie Sanders in Phoenix. (Photo by Dennis Gilman)

Bernie Sanders in Phoenix. (Photo by Dennis Gilman)

In the recent Democratic Party debate, Vermont Senator and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders said he favored marijuana legalization, a stance that he had been hinting at for a while.

Sanders took a step further today by introducing a bill in the US Senate that would take marijuana off of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “most dangerous drugs” list. (You’ll remember that two years after President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act— which classified marijuana as a schedule 1 drug [no redeeming medical value]– Nixon’s drug policy advisers told him to legalize marijuana instead. Hating the hippies for their constant harassment of him and his Vietnam War policies, Nixon went the other way by locking down marijuana use, locking up marijuana users, and stopping all medical research into marijuana.)  Will marijuana users finally see justice?

Sanders’ Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act is similar to a bill in the House of Representatives proposed by Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado. From the Huffington Post...

“Just as alcohol prohibition failed in the 1920s, it’s clear marijuana prohibition is failing today,” Polis said in a statement. “For decades, the federal ban on marijuana has wasted tax dollars, impeded our criminal justice system, lined the pockets of drug cartels, and trampled on states’ ability to set their own public health laws. …

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Over-Policing of Marijuana Possession by Maricopa County Attorney & ASU

marijuana leafThe case of Andre Maestas, a student at Arizona State University and a medical marijuana card holder, is a prime example of what’s wrong with Arizona’s drug enforcement policies and our conflicting laws.

Marijuana prohibition zealot and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery filed felony marijuana possession charges against Maestas because he had 0.6 grams of marijuana and smoking paraphernalia in his dorm room. (0.6 grams is approximately a teaspoon of pot.)

How could a medical marijuana patient be charged with felony possession– especially for such a tiny amount? Patients are allowed to possess and purchase up to  2.5 ounces of pot every two weeks. Maestas had 0.02 ounces. (Did I mention that Maestas is black?)

Apparently, Maestas was charged and found guilty under a 2012 law passed by the Arizona Legislature (and backed by the universities) which bans medical pot on college campuses. Maestas’ case claims the 2012 law– which changes the 2010 voter-approved Medical Marijuana Act– is illegal because of the 1998 voter-approved Voter Protection Act, which prohibits the Legislature from changing or over-turning citizen initiatives. (The Voter Protection Act was passed two years after Arizona voters overwhelmingly passed medical marijuana the first time.) So far– the courts are not buying Maestas’ argument, and he is scheduled to be sentenced in early October. What’s wrong with this picture?

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