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WIRE: Coalition of doctors and nurses urge yes vote on Arizona Prop. 205

PHOENIX — Several medical professionals gathered at the state capitol Wednesday to encourage Arizonans to vote “yes” on Prop. 205. They represent a coalition of more than 50 doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses from around the state who support the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol. A full list of supporters is available at the bottom of this release.

The medical professionals stress the fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and point to the public health and safety problems that arise when marijuana cultivation and sales are forced into the underground market.

Some also support Prop. 205 because there are many adults in Arizona who could benefit from medical marijuana but do not qualify for the state’s program or have trouble participating in it. For example, Arizona’s medical marijuana law 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. Many veterans also have trouble participating 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.

Statement from Dr. Tom Patterson of Phoenix, a former Arizona Senate leader and past president of the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, who participated in the event at the capitol:

“The doctors and nurses coming out in support of Prop. 205 are just a small sample of the larger base of medical professionals who support ending marijuana prohibition. We know from personal experience that marijuana is a far less harmful substance than alcohol. It is illogical to allow adults to consume alcohol freely, while threatening adult cannabis users with felony charges. We should provide adults with the legal option of using a less harmful substance when they relax or socialize.

“There has always been a lot of hysteria and misinformation around marijuana. My support for Prop. 205 is based on common sense and my own experience. As an emergency physician, I saw that marijuana caused far less disease and destruction than alcohol. As a legislator, I saw that we were spending scarce public resources, much needed elsewhere, on a futile war on drugs that will never be won.”

Statement from Dr. Laura De La Torre of Tucson:

“This is a policy reform long overdue. Prohibiting marijuana has created an out-of-control illicit market that undermines public health and safety. In Arizona, taxpayers spend millions of dollars annually to arrest, prosecute, cite, and process thousands of people — disproportionately Latinos and African Americans — for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Prohibition is also empowering drug cartels, particularly criminal enterprises in Mexico, which reap a significant portion of their total revenue from the exportation of marijuana to America.

“As physicians, we look at this issue from a public health perspective. The policy of marijuana prohibition is inefficient and creates unintended consequences that fuel the illicit market and put our young people at risk. Prohibition was a disaster for alcohol, and it’s not working for marijuana either. It’s time for a better way.”

Statement from Dr. Jeffrey Singer, a Phoenix physician:

“Arizona’s medical marijuana system is working for thousands of patients, but it is not helping everyone. There are many patients who do not have a qualifying condition under the law and others who cannot afford a medical certification. Perhaps most critically, there are veterans who cannot obtain a medical marijuana recommendation because VA doctors are prohibited from issuing them. We need to pass Prop. 205 so that all patients in need have access to marijuana.”

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is supporting Proposition 205, an initiative on the November 2016 ballot that would end marijuana prohibition in Arizona and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed like alcohol. For more information, visit
Arizona Medical Professionals Support Prop. 205

Dr. Michael Alberti, MD, Scottsdale

Dr. Jean Barton, MD, Sedona

Kathleen Beeks, LPN, Tucson

Janice Bell, NP, Camp Verde

Dr. Ben Bennett, MD, Lake Havasu

Dr. Gina Berman, MD, Mesa

Bettina Bickel, RN , Phoenix

Lisa Bilek, FNP, Bisbee

Alecia Brouwer, RN, Scottsdale

Adella Calusi, RN, Snowflake

Dr. Albert Carlotti, MD, Scottsdale

Dr. Michelle Carlotti, MD, Scottsdale

Dr. Alan Citrin , MD, Phoenix

Dr. Stephen Curtin, MD, Tucson

Dr. Laura De La Torre, MD, Tucson

Dr. Sam Durrani, MD, Phoenix

Eric Dutchover, RN, Phoenix

Randall Fallaha, CNA, Winslow

Frances Falquez, RN, Winkelman

Jane Fender-Lutzen, RN, Pine

Dr. Diane Fordney, MD, Tucson

Mary Frugoli, RN, Tucson

Susan Fullerton, RN, Phoenix

Elaine Goldberg, RN, Phoenix

Dr. Melinda Hayes, MD, Patagonia

Melissa Kelly, RN, Flagstaff

Dr. David Kelsey, MD, Scottsdale

Lilian Lombardo, RN, Sedona

Dr. Brian McCabe, MD, Tucson

Sandra McClendon, RN, Tucson

John Mills, RN, Phoenix

Dr. Hara Misra, MD, Phoenix

Claudine Mora, RN, Phoenix

Karen Moyle, LPN, Kingman

Judith Murray, RN, Phoenix

Robin Needham, RN, Scottsdale

Sharla Orton, RN, Sun City

Dr. Tom Patterson, MD, Phoenix

Dr. Christopher Petro , MD, Oro Valley

Diana Pryer, RN, Sedona

Brenda Rae, RN, Phoenix

Charrisa Riggs, FNP, Chandler

Betty Rosenbaum, NP, Surprise

Dr. Marcia Ruhl, MD, Tucson

Kelly Lynn Schultz, NP, Phoenix

Bonnie Senftner, RN, Mesa

Dr. Laura Sherman, MD, Goodyear

Dr. Jeffrey Singer, MD, Phoenix

Cathy Tingey, RN, Mesa

Paula Toman, LPN, Apache Junction

Dr. Brian Trainor, MD, Phoenix

Dr. Deborah White, MD, Scottsdale

Melissa Zuege, RN, Surprise

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