State of Silliness: How Drug Policy Crushed a Family

Meet Scott. Scott and I only had a few minutes to chat, but during that short time, he told me a story that illustrated why it’s so important for Arizona to legalize Marijuana.

There was a young boy in Scott’s extended family whose mother left when he was just 5. Understandably, the boy was torn up by his mother’s decision. Despite counseling and therapy, the boy stayed angry until his teenage years, at which point he started self destructive and criminal behavior.

The boy was arrested, and spent time in juvenile detention and on probation, but these did not change his behavior.

Then he discovered Marijuana.

The change was immediate. The young man was better able to deal with the emotional pain of his mother’s decision, and he showed more enthusiasm for life generally. His family was awed and grateful.

But being on probation, he soon failed a drug test, and was put into drug rehab. After removing the Marijuana from his system, the clinics would realize he needed medicine, and would prescribe various brand name psychiatric drugs marketed for children and teens.

But these drugs not only didn’t help, they hurt.  Eventually, the dysfunction would become so great, the young man would stop taking his prescribed medication and switch back to Marijuana. When he switched, the family again saw immediate positive change.

But, of course, the young man failed another drug test. Scott and the rest of his family went to court to beg for permission to use the only treatment that had proven effective, but state law prevented the legal system from granting the family’s plea.

This cycle was repeated several times, Marijuana, improvement, parole violation, forced rehab, brand name drugs, depression, Marijuana, improvement, parole violation…

Similar stories are played out every day all over the state. Enforcing current drug law is expensive and counterproductive.

As your next Governor, I will fight for sensible cannabis and corrections reform, so that Arizona gives families the tools and support they need to see their troubled loved ones through tough times, ultimately becoming productive members of society.

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