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Updated Jan 24, 2013 - 2:06 pm

Battle lines redrawn in Arizona's medical marijuana fight

Medical marijuana patient Jim Dwyer speaks at a press conference urging Rep. John Kavanagh to drop his effort to repeal a voter-approved medical marijuana initiative. (Jim Cross/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- Medical marijuana patients and supporters gathered at the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday morning to ask Rep. John Kavanagh, a Republican, to back down from his effort to repeal the medical marijuana law approved by voters in 2010.

Kavanagh said the program is loaded with abuse and that 10 percent of children are getting their marijuana from cardholders in the program.

"Ninety percent of the cardholders have chronic pain complaints," he said. "Hard to disprove, but easy to fake."

Kavanagh also said medical marijuana is dangerous and, until new studies prove otherwise, it should not be dispensed.

Greg Plunkett, who served in the Navy, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and seizures. He couldn't disagree more with Kavanagh.

"I get this because I need the help," he said. "I'm standing here today because of medical marijuana."

Rebecca Perry, who has multiple sclerosis, said medical marijuana helps her and the dispensaries keep her from being forced to look for marijuana illegally.

"It keeps me from calling someone down on the corner that has some marijuana," he said. "Medical marijuana helps with the spasms I get. It helps a lot."

Perry and others believe Kavanagh wants to repeal the law in part because he doesn't know the difference between unregulated marijuana clubs and licensed dispensaries.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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