Rushing to the defense of CBS 5's severely flawed "investigation" of the state's medical-marijuana program is Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles, who wants to add to the disinformation campaign.
In fact, Voyles sent out a press release including a public thank-you note to CBS 5, thanking them for the "investigation" and the station's use of a completely fake statistic.
We wrote about CBS 5's "investigation" a couple of times last week. To prove that "young, healthy" people are getting medical-marijuana cards in Arizona, "investigative reporter" Morgan Loew tried to see how easy it was to get one (despite his being neither young nor healthy, according to what he told a doctor).
Loew went to a chiropractor, then went to a doctor, complaining to both that he's had back pain for months -- pain he claims is legitimate. The pain was "distracting," he said. He couldn't tell the doctor whether the pain made it difficult for him to concentrate on things but admitted that it limits his ability to run.
He submitted a form to the state health department attesting to the fact that he had "severe and chronic pain." Then, after he got his medical-marijuana card, he claimed it was just a "sore back" and that he never said it was "severe." He then claimed he never lied about it.
In this same "investigation," Loew also presented a completely fake statistic to the public.
"Ninety percent of the certifications are for severe and chronic pain," Loew said in the segment as a dramatic graphic was displayed onscreen. "Not cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, ALS, or any of the other specific illnesses that qualify someone for medical marijuana."
We found that number to be 71.57 percent -- not 90 -- which the Arizona Department of Health Services confirmed for us.
A little less than 20 percent of cardholders have two conditions, which means they do have cancer, or AIDS, or glaucoma, ALS, Crohn's disease, severe muscle spasms, Hepatitis C, Alzheimer's, or any other debilitating disease -- and it's painful.
Bravo, says County Attorney Voyles.
Read his ass-kissing letter below:
KPHO-TV / CBS Ch. 5
4016 N. Black Canyon Hwy.
Phoenix, AZ 85017
RE: Story, "Medical marijuana going to young, healthy"
Dear General Manager Munson:
I thank you and Morgan Loew for the investigation and reporting of the failures of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program and its apparent criminal consequences.
As stated in the story, qualifying cardholders claiming severe and chronic pain account for 90% of all cardholders and of those applying and receiving cards, 18-30 year-olds represent the largest demographic holding medical marijuana cards and nearly half are under 40-years-old. This represents a significant failure in the Program, which remains in violation of federal laws, as marijuana possesses no federally recognized medicinal use.
Due to KPHO-TV/CBS Ch. 5's airing the story and exposing systematic problems with the Program, the public is more aware of loopholes enabling apparent recreational use of marijuana, a Schedule One substance.
Thank you again and please let me know if I may provide you with information on this matter as the flawed implementation of this federally illegal matter impacts our communities by encouraging marijuana usage with our youth and organized crime on our streets.
Pinal County Attorney
CC: Morgan Loew, Investigative Reporter
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In April, Voyles sent another misguided anti-pot letter to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, urging county employees to not process licenses for dispensaries or cultivation sites "to eliminate the risk of federal criminal prosecution."
This, despite Voyles being well aware that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona said that "the Department of Justice is focusing its limited resources on significant drug traffickers, not seriously ill individuals and their caregivers who are in compliance with applicable state medical marijuana statutes."