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Burns & Gambo

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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