In the fight to keep medical cannabis legal in Arizona, advocates were recently given a secret weapon.
Melvin McDonald isn’t your stereotypical supporter of medical cannabis. Mormon by faith, a former judge, and a former U.S. Attorney appointed by Ronald Reagan, Melvin reaches a much-needed audience when he speaks out about the need to allow patients safe access to this medicine.
“I was a leader in the drug wars in the 1980’s….I’d been appointed by President Reagan as the US Attorney. Our number one priority in Arizona was drugs and we battled drugs all the years I was US Attorney”, Melvin told Arizona Family.
Now, he understands that cannabis is medicinal; “Marijuana works with certain kinds of illnesses. I’ve seen it”.
The change of heart had much to do with the fact that his son tragically developed epilepsy after being hit by a car, causing severe brain damage. Medication that was given to him for treatment made it so that he couldn’t keep down food, sometimes for days at a time.
Then, he tried cannabis, which turned out to be the only thing that helped him with his nausea, allowing him to eat.
Now that McDonald has seen its benefits, he understands that patients shouldn’t be harassed for it, and that it should be legally available for them.
This is why he’s speaking out now; lawmakers are currently discussing legislation that would put medical cannabis back to a vote of the people in 2014, a plan being pushed by opponents of the law; they hope that they can mount a campaign to defeat it.
Arizona voters passed medical cannabis laws in 1996, 1998 and most recently in 2010, with dispensaries beginning to open last December.