Governor right to sign updated law on medical marijuana
It is striking how often new laws have unintended consequences. Too often lawmakers do not thoroughly think through the possible outcomes of legislation.
Gov. Jan Brewer corrected one of those consequences the other day when she signed a law altering an earlier one that had banned the use of medically approved marijuana on the state's college campuses.
Frankly, the original law always seemed pretty silly to us. Why withhold marijuana from students who have a medical need for it when the use of it for “recreational” purposes has been widespread on campuses for many years, legal or not?
Nevertheless lawmakers did it, and the outcome was that a least one university researcher's plan to study medical uses of marijuana was short-circuited. That was ironic since one of the major debates surrounding Arizona's 2010 medical marijuana law has been whether there is any true medical benefit from it and for what conditions. State officials complained there was no reliable research on the issue.
The law signed by Brewer creates an exception for the campus marijuana ban to allow research. We are glad to see lawmakers and the governor have seen the wisdom of this change.
While there seems to be clear anecdotal evidence that marijuana can be useful in treating at least some conditions, such as nausea caused by cancer treatments, there has been little scientific research into the drug's use or its potential harm.
It is hard to understand why since more and more states are approving medical marijuana laws. Perhaps the hesitancy has to do with its illegal recreational use, but other useful medical drugs are also illegal and misused, such as narcotics. Perhaps some people simply want to believe marijuana is not useful.
At any rate, research is needed and our state's universities can now contribute to the effort if they choose to do so.