Medical or Recreational?

09-20-2020Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Since the previous ballot proposition for medical marijuana passed several years ago, many of you obviously voted in favor of it. You did so, I imagine since much of the campaigning was designed to pull on your heart strings and elicit your compassion, not that you yourself intended to make use of it. So, you reasoned, “if someone can be helped by using marijuana and receive relief for a medical condition, who am I am to stand in the way?”. At this point some of you still hold to that position, others may have changed your minds seeing that medical marijuana has caused more problems than it solved.

Either way, whichever position you now hold you will want to vote no on Proposition 207, the legalization of recreational use marijuana and hashish. For those who still support the use of medical marijuana the legalization of recreational use marijuana will pretty much wipe out the medical marijuana industry in Arizona. Those who need marijuana for medical purposes will at the very least pay much more for it and have much less or no access to it at all.

In states that had legal medical marijuana and then later legalized recreational use marijuana, the medical marijuana industry was pretty much decimated. For example, in Oregon, medical marijuana dispensaries dropped from 400 to 2. There is a difference in potency and efficacy between medical grade and recreational grade marijuana. In general, Medical Marijuana Acts set certain standards so that the marijuana would be both effective and affordable for medical use. Recreational use marijuana does away with those requirements. There is real money to be made in recreational use pot, dispensaries don't want to be tangled up with the regulations and the costs that come along with medical marijuana. There’s a lot more pro$t and a lot less regulation in recreational use pot than in medical marijuana. It’s that simple.

Proposition 207 will allow existing non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries to convert to for-pro$t businesses that will no longer have to comply with the AZ Medical Marijuana Act. This means all the carefully crafted regulations and monitoring of the Medical Marijuana Act will no longer apply to recreational marijuana retailers. The current focus of the medical marijuana dispensaries on catering to sick patients will cease and shift to casual users. Additionally, Prop 207 allows marijuana retailers to advertise on all platforms, unlike tobacco which is highly restricted from advertising.

Proposition 207 also very cleverly and conveniently caps the tax on marijuana at 16% and lowers that in the event the combined federal and state tax exceed 30%. Wouldn't every business love to have the amount of tax they pay capped by voter approved initiative that can only be changed by another voter approved initiative? (Also Prop 207 if passed includes language that it can only be revoked by another voter approved initiative by a 75% margin.) Of course, there is no danger of taxes reaching 30% any time soon since marijuana is still illegal on the Federal level. So, at the moment these marijuana retail shops are a cash business as banks will not offer them the use of credit cards for fear of running afoul of federal laws. So even if the tax is 16% are they really turning in receipts for that? Hard to know.

Anyway, my point here is that recreational use marijuana, as we have seen in other states will make the availability of medical use marijuana almost if not impossible to access and where it is available it will be very expensive. So, for those who now use it to manage a medical condition, if 207 passes, they may be out of luck or out of a lot of cash.

Just think of the conflicting message being sent moving from medical to recreational use marijuana. The cannabis pushers promoted for years that marijuana was serious medicine needed for the sick, now it is just for fun. Its edible form comes in gummy bears, candies, cookies, soda and vape pens. At least with the medical marijuana message you could tell your kids, stay away from that its serious medicine meant for sick people but now?

If you support the use of Medical Marijuana in AZ, vote NO on Prop 207. If you do not support the use of Medical Marijuana in AZ, vote NO on Prop 207.


Fr. John B.

PS Please pass the message on. The Marijuana Industry, like Big Tobacco is VERY well funded and those of us working to defeat Prop 207 are not. So, we need your help to defeat this 21st century equivalent of Philip-Morris, L &M and RJ Reynolds.