Prescription pot has become a hot topic in Arizona lately because of Proposition 203.
Prop 203 would allow people suffering from various ailments to be prescribed marijuana by a doctor. It will appear on the ballot in November.
A lot of people don't like it, but it's not just conservative party-poopers who are, well (you know), on the parade.
Yesterday we reported that the Arizona Cardinals have joined the fight against the law. The Cards donated $10,000 to an anti-medical-marijuana group called Keep AZ Drug Free. In our article, we noted that the group didn't return our call to tell us why it thinks medical marijuana is so horrible.
Today, leaders of the group called us back and put us in touch with its self-described "most liberal member," who also happens to be a psychologist specializing in addiction.
In the interest of equal time, check out what he had to say after the jump.
Aside from being a psychologist, Ed Gogek is on the group's steering committee and despite contending he's a lefty who once ran for office as a Democrat, he sees legalizing medical marijuana as a huge problem.
"This is not about medical marijuana. I work with drug addicts, so I see how they lie and scam," Gogek tells New Times. "When this is done in other states, only about 3 percent of the people who use it have serious problems. Anyone can claim 'pain.'"
Gogek points to the problems California's had with medical marijuana and blames -- among others -- the doctors prescribing the weed.
"Almost all of this marijuana is being prescribed by doctors looking to make money," he says. "Arizona advocates say Arizona won't turn into California, but they've actually made the law much worse [than California's]."
Gogek claims Arizona's proposed law is almost identical to California's and would create all the same problems with the money-grubbing doctors. He says Arizona's proposed law is worse because there is nothing in the law that makes it illegal to drive a car, or go to work, stoned.
The specifics of the law aside, we wanted to find out what about marijuana the group finds so horrible and -- as the Keep AZ Drug Free Web site claims -- "dangerous."
Gogek says car wrecks and teenage stoners are the main social problems Arizona would face if medical weed was allowed in the state.
We pointed out that there already are plenty of people driving around stoned now and that teenagers are already getting high. He says when medical marijuana enters the fray, the number of people doing those things increases.
"When you allow medical marijuana, it says to kids 'this is an okay way to treat pain,'" Gogek claims. "When medical marijuana is allowed, there are more people using it and more people driving around stoned. California's rate doubled."
Gogek says the medical benefits of marijuana aren't even that spectacular. He says it's great for treating nausea, but when it comes to other ailments, there are safer, more-effective treatment methods.
"The question is, does the benefit outweigh the risk," he asks. "Marijuana does not meet that standard."
Gogek says he can't see any scenario where he'd support the legalization of medical marijuana. For him to even consider it, he says two things must happen.
First, he says, there would need to be a stipulation that anyone who seeks a prescription for certain types of ailments seek a second opinion from a specialist. Secondly, he would want the law to require a full examination of any patient seeking medical marijuana -- not just a quick, five-minute visit with a Dr. Feelgood.
Gogek seems to find the whole idea that marijuana holds some miraculous medical value as a ploy by potheads to legitimize their drug of choice.
He may be right, but at the end of the day, it's still only weed, dude. Nobody ODs on bong hits.
Gogek has a Web site. Check it out here.
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