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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.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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