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Published On: Sun, Dec 4th, 2011

Should the Navajo Nation legalize Medical Marijuana?

by Navajo Post on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 10:33am
Nov. 4, 2011
By: Navajo Post

Phoenix- In 2010 Arizona voters passed a measure to legal medical marijuana, Arizona prop 203 the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act – it passed by a margin of 4,341 votes (841,346 YES, 837,005 NO).

Today, the allowable amount of marijuana for patients and caregivers is 2.5 ounces in Arizona. IF a patient or caregiver is allowed to cultivate, the limit is 12 plants that must be grown in an “enclosed, locked facility”, defined as “closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area”. according to Arizona Revised Statue

But the Navajo Nation is a sovereign nation, but still in the State of Arizona? Would a Navajo citizen present a measure similar to the Council.

“It is an interesting point. The new AZ law does have an affirmative defense, so that if you are a patient and you have less than the 2.5 oz limit, but you don’t have a card, you can argue in court that your marijuana use was medical. Whether that defense would help in a zero-tolerance DUID charge is another story, but I suppose you might argue that you’re a patient and the metabolites in your blood are not over 2.5 oz of actual marijuana and the AZ law does exempt patients from the zero tolerance. I would probably just get my card and not drive within two hours of medicating and not risk an unfriendly” Russ Stormen said of Phoenix

No measure or bill has ever been attempted in the Navajo Nation Council to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. However, some could debate that other tribes have membership to the Native American Church which uses ‘peyote’

How would the Navajo people approach this? Who would qualify to sell or cultivate medical marijuana in the reservation should there be a measure if it is ever presented to the Navajo Nation Council.

“i am interested in possibly cultivate for my own use. however, it does not look like i will be eligible for this, as i live in the phoenix city limits. the way i read it is anyone closer than 25 miles is not allowed to do so. why?” said B. Johnhat a member of the Navajo Nation.

Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly.

Some would argue that Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. Similarly, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse Scientists have learned a great deal about how THC acts in the brain to produce its many effects. When someone smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body.

THC acts upon specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, kicking off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the “high” that users experience when they smoke marijuana. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentrating, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. Not surprisingly, marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory.

Moreover, it has a addictive potential, effects the heart, and lungs. Numerous studies have shown marijuana smoke contains carcinogens and is an irritant to the lungs. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke.

Either way, propositions like these will continue to be voted on throughout the country and so the debate continues what will Indian Country do.

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Should the Navajo Nation legalize Medical Marijuana?