One of the most important propositions on the ballot, Prop. 203, is least understood and maligned by well-meaning people who haven't studied the facts.
Prop. 203 is designed to de-criminalize the possession of small quantities of marijuana and legalize its medicinal use by people suffering from AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and other untreatable conditions when prescribed by a physician.
The passage of this proposition is important for many reasons. Here's a few, any one of which is enough to mandate a "yes' vote for Prop. 203.
Thousands of people suffer from untreatable ailments causing nausea and constant pain relieved only by THC, the active agent in marijuana. All physicians can do now is prescribe potent pain deadeners and drugs producing partial relief and causing serious side effects. Many physicians have stated that the only reason they won't prescribe medical marijuana is because of the laws our legislature has created, placing their medical license in jeopardy if they do what they know to be in the best interest of their patient.
People living in pain deserve better than that.
It's impossible to fathom that here in the U.S., birthplace of freedom, a higher percentage of our people are behind bars than in any nation in the world. What's really amazing is that our present anti-drug laws have filled the prisons with literally thousands of people whose "crime" was being caught with a small quantity of marijuana for personal consumption.
What does that mean for you and me? We're paying millions of dollars a year in additional onerous taxes to support those paid to enforce our present anti-drug laws and oversee our over-crowded prisons.
But the most important reason is the thrashing of our personal freedom and basic common sense.
You can drive down the Beeline Highway with two fifths of Jim Beam you picked up at the liquor store, your loaded .357 on the seat beside you, and three joints in a bag under the seat, and go to jail only for possession of the marijuana. Here, in the birthplace of freedom.
Something's wrong here.
I don't have all the answers, but I'm smart enough to know when something's not working. And our present laws need help. Prop. 203 is a step in the right direction.
Larry Brophy, Payson