Colorado Drug Investigators weigh in on medical marijuana debate

    2:05 AM, Oct 20, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Colorado Drug Investigators Association gave Arkansas voters a stern warning about passing Issue 5, the Medical Marijuana Act.

    "Marijuana is not medicine and it is not proven to be safe," said Cleburne County Sheriff Marty Moss at a press conference Friday. 

    Law enforcement associations across the state are saying 'no' to Arkansas' medical marijuana initiative.

    "Increased availability leads to increased misuse, abuse and addiction, even when controls are in place," says Moss.

    "It's been a disaster for us in Colorado," says Jim Gerhardt with the Colorado Drug Investigators Association.

    He says since passing a medical marijuana law twelve years ago, his state has seen serious ramifications.

    "More drunk drivers on the streets from causing serious accidents, more children getting in danger because their caretakers were too busy getting high," says Gerhardt.

    Gerhardt says in the last three years, medical marijuana has boomed into a full blown industry with more than one hundred thousand people on their registry, causing an epidemic in illegal trade and use.

    "What we've literally found in Colorado is 98% of the people that are on our registry are on there because they claimed to have some level of pain. a lot of times these are 20 year old kids that are saying it's because they snowboard and they've got knee injuries and things like that so snowboarding suddenly becomes a gateway into getting on the medical marijuana registry," says Gerhardt.

    It's a problem he says Arkansas can avoid by saying no to the issue all together.

    "If you open this door, if you crack this seal, you are going to unleash a huge amount of problems," says Gerhardt.

    Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the group responsible for the current medical marijuana initiative, says this state won't see those kinds of issues. Treasurer Melissa Fults says while chronic pain is a condition to get on the registry, it is not as easy as it seems.

    "Yes, pain is one of them but you have to have gone through a minimum of six months of conventional pain treatment in order for your doctor to even be allowed to discuss the use of medical marijuana with you," says Fults.

    She says Arkansas' initiative is crafted mainly after the Maine and New Mexico laws, not California or Colorado and a host of safe guards are already in place in the 8,000 word bill to prevent illegal use.

    Voters in Colorado will decide next month whether to extend their current law to include recreational use of marijuana.

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