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Arizona doctor in favor of medical marijuana

Dr. Richard Strand speaks in favor of medical marijuana. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- A prominent Arizona doctor is speaking out in favor of medical marijuana.

Dr. Richard Strand, with the Arizona Wellness Chamber of Commerce, said medical marijuana can help many people, especially those with cancer.

"It can help with appetite stimulation, anxiety reduction, improve in sleep; there are all sorts of good medical reasons," he said. "When people come out and say that there aren't, they're just not telling the truth."

Arizona voters approved medical marijuana in 2010, but a bill that would put it back on the ballot in 2014 is making its way through the Arizona Legislature.

The bill is sponsored by State Rep. John Kavanaugh. The Arizona Wellness Chamber of Commerce is calling on Kavanaugh and others to stop making what it said are false statements about medical marijuana.

"Some of the words from Rep. Kavanaugh and the group 'Keep Arizona Drug Free' state that 95 percent of the program is recreational, that it's not medical and that there are no good medical reasons for medical marijuana," said Strand. "I think that these statements are all patently false."

The chamber believes that medical professionals, not legislators and law enforcement, should be making decisions about the appropriate use of medical marijuana and those decisions should be based on science and appropriate regulation instead of someone's political agenda.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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