Watered-down anti-marijuana bill advancing in the Legislature

Alex Berenson, author of Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence.

By Ali Swenson | Phoenix New Times

For the past week, a ballot referral that would limit Arizona’s marijuana products to 2 percent THC has been troubling cannabis advocates who argue it would hurt patients and upend the state’s entire medical marijuana program.

Under pressure on Thursday, Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who introduced the bill, agreed to slash the potency limit with a floor amendment. But his anti-marijuana measure is still advancing in the State Legislature with other provisions that advocates say are dangerous.

If it passes through the full bodies of the House and the Senate, the measure could appear on voters’ ballots in November.

Bowers said he got the idea for House Concurrent Resolution 2045 after reading the controversial book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence, by former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson.

“This has been a rather interesting learning experience for me,” Bowers told the House Health and Human Services Committee on February 20. He cited the book’s claims that high levels of THC in cannabis products are related to spiking crime and violence. “Not everybody’s going to become paranoid schizophrenic and act out violently, but a lot of people are.”

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