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Medical marijuana in Arizona: An open letter to AZ from Westword pot critic William Breathes

Dear Arizona,

How are things? We haven't talked much lately, what with all of the craziness you guys got into with the feds. But I wanted to congratulate you on (barely) passing your MMJ laws!

Speaking on behalf of Colorado and your other pot-friendly neighbor, New Mexico -- I said NEW Mexico, calm down! -- we want to welcome you to the club of states getting something right. It's good to see you putting the rights of patients first. And as a citizen of your older-brother state, I have to admit that you guys outdid us on a few things. Like these, which I discovered over at the NORML website:

"Patients and caregivers may share marijuana with other patients for free, as long as they don't knowingly cause the patient to exceed 2.5 ounces."

Not sure why you had to legalize generosity, but okay.

"Patients may not drive under the influence of marijuana; however, marijuana metabolites shall not be proof of impairment.".

So I can't drive under the influence of herb in Arizona, but if I did (not that I condone it), you guys can't really prove I was doing it? That's something I'd expect to see pulled in some liberal city in Holland. You guys have really changed in the last few months, haven't you?

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Patients and Caregivers may give marijuana to dispensaries, but not for any compensation.

Here in Colorado, caregivers with leftover herb can't sell it or give it to dispensaries. Instead, dispensaries have to grow most of their own. Only 30 percent can come from another dispensary -- that is, if the caregivers even have the meds to give out to their patients. Here in Denver, growers were limited by our city lawmakers to only twelve plants, regardless of caregiver status.

The cards or recommendations for visiting patients from other medical marijuana states will be recognized in Arizona, but they may not shop at the dispensaries.

Well, I can't hate on you for making it legal for us to possess, smoke (and maybe even fly with) herb. You've given me a good reason to make it to Rockies spring training this year. But blocking us from your dispensaries? With all of those desert health spas out there, the thought of medical marijuana tourism didn't cross your mind?

Non-patients cannot be punished for being in the vicinity of lawful medical marijuana use by patients or providing paraphernalia to patients.

So you're saying I can light up at a party in Phoenix and say "bong" in a head shop in Tucson without the guy thinking he's being set up? I had no idea that pipe stores had a lobbyist.

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Employers cannot discriminate against patients and caregivers and a positive test for marijuana metabolites is not cause for disciplining or terminating a patient.

I stood up and applauded this one at my desk after I read it. Good move, Arizona. Good move.

Medical facilities and treatments, including organ transplants, cannot be denied to patients for their medical marijuana use.

Again, way to put patient rights first in your state. Hopefully others will take your compassionate lead.

In any case, you made the right move Arizona, congrats. You guys actually did a few things right with your laws -- aside from the whole submitting-to-fingerprinting-by-law-enforcement part, which was pretty dumb. Oh, and I was kind of surprised there was no mention of Mexico anywhere in there.

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Either way, you've made us and the other thirteen medical marijuana states proud.

See you soon, I'm sure. Your pal,

William Breathes

William Breathes is the pot pen name of our medical marijuana dispensary reviewer. Read the William Breathes bio here and be sure to check out our archive of Mile Highs and Lows medical marijuana dispensary reviews.

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