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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Arizona Ad Set to Air During Bears-Packers Matchup on Thursday Night Football

In the ad, McMahon — an Arizona resident who began his career with the Bears, ended it with the Packers, and spent a season with the Arizona Cardinals — discusses how he was able to end his daily use of opioid painkillers after he gained legal access to marijuana; he notes that people like him are able to qualify for and afford a medical marijuana card, but ‘others aren’t so lucky’

Arizona - Jim McMahon: "Quote" [Arizona Marijuana Initiative 2016 / YouTube]
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Former NFL Quarterback Jim McMahon:
“Marijuana should be available to all adults who need it”
[Arizona Marijuana Initiative 2016 / YouTube]

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona will air a new TV ad in support of Prop. 205 during the Thursday Night Football matchup between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. It features Super Bowl champion quarterback Jim McMahon, an Arizona resident who began his career with the Bears in 1982 and ended it with the Packers in 1996. He also spent a season with the Arizona Cardinals.

The ad begins with McMahon describing his first major injury, which occurred during his second season. “That’s when I started using painkillers, and I was using them daily, pretty much the rest of my career,” he says. “It takes its toll. I was taking too many of those things.”

He then discusses how he “got rid of those” and has “been using marijuana ever since” he retired, moved to Arizona, and enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program.

“Someone like me can afford to become a medical marijuana patient, but others aren’t so lucky,” he points out. “Marijuana should be available to all adults who need it. I’m voting ‘yes’ on Prop. 205 and hope you will, too.”

Most patients who qualify for Arizona’s medical marijuana program must pay $150 to receive a medical registry identification card, which must then be renewed annually at a cost of $150.

Many patients also need to pay for appointments with their doctors or with specialists to obtain a medical marijuana recommendation. This includes most veterans, due to a federal directive from the Veterans Health Administration that prohibits VA physicians from recommending medical marijuana, even in states that have made it legal.

Arizona’s medical marijuana law also does not cover patients suffering from several medical conditions that are covered by other states’ medical marijuana laws, including Parkinson’s disease, lupus, muscular dystrophy, and traumatic brain injury.

“We are grateful to Jim McMahon for sharing his story with the voters of Arizona,” said CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “Our opponents try to argue that we should not make marijuana legal during the current opioids crisis. But Jim conveys an actual truth: the availability of marijuana can help reduce the use of opioids in our society.

“Jim also makes an important point about the cost and availability of medical marijuana,” Holyoak said. “Prop. 205 will make this therapeutic substance available to many Arizona adults who could benefit from it but have trouble accessing it. This is just one of the many reasons to support ending prohibition and regulating marijuana like alcohol.”

In any event, a new poll from O-H Predictive Insights shows that just 43 percent of likely Arizona voters favor Prop 205, with 47 percent opposing it, reports Christopher Conover at Arizona Public Media. Ten percent of Arizona voters remain undecided on the recreational legalization measure. Arizona voters in 2010, on a very narrow vote, approved the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Supporters say that while Prop 205 “isn’t ideal,” it must be passed as a “step forward” and “will evolve to a more rational set of regulations as prohibitionist fears fail to materialize.”

Meanwhile, opponents of the measure within the marijuana community say Prop 205 has the potential to destroy Arizona’s medical marijuana program. They argue that most of the “life-altering felony penalties remain in place for low-level marijuana crimes.”

Employers would still be allowed, under Prop 205, to fire employees for using marijuana, even when they used it legally during their off-time. Opponents are also concerned about preserving firearms protections, DUI protections, parental protections, raid and search protections, and post conviction relief.

The 30-second spot, which will also run online, can be viewed now below and at https://youtu.be/7MlkvJ5PjoQ .

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