Political Insider: Push to Snuff Out Term ‘Medical Marijuana’

Do as I say, not as I doobie … Despite voter approval of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, there is no such thing as medical marijuana. So says Rep. Bob Robson, who wants his fellow lawmakers to stop using that term.

“We’re already tacitly committing this body to recognizing something that doesn’t really exist,” Robson, R-Chandler, said, as he urged the term be struck from bills that reference (dare we say it?) medical marijuana. Robson argued that he’s seen no studies that codify marijuana as having medical properties.

Never mind that voters in 2010 added the term to the state’s legal lexicon, or that voters did the same thing in 1996 and 1998, only to have the laws bollixed up with legal challenges.

Dems have an impact … The Democrats at the Arizona Legislature actually accomplished something this week. They probably wish they hadn’t.

Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, and other Democrats criticized Senate Economic Development and Jobs Creation Committee Chairwoman Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale, for not holding a single hearing so far this session despite the Republicans’ promise to focus on jobs.

Reagan defended herself, saying her committee was set up not to hear bills like other committees but to do outreach to local businesses and gather research on job issues.

But Senate President Steve Pierce quickly assigned a couple of bills to the committee, and it held its first public hearing Wednesday. The committee passed a bill Democrats opposed, which limits individuals’ abilities to sue companies for punitive damages.

Maybe the Democrats should have just kept their mouths shut. How much damage can a legislative committee that doesn’t meet actually do?

Helloooo, is anyone home? … The headquarters of the state Democratic Party is clearing out faster than an office headed to happy hour.

In the mere first five weeks of 2012, the party has lost no less than seven officers, from its chairman to it finance director.

The ranks are so thin that on Friday, a volunteer mistakenly said Executive Director Luis Heredia had moved on as well. That was a false alarm — Heredia is in rebuilding mode for the state Democrats — but it underscored the exodus of Democratic staffers for greener pastures.

Most of those pastures are in new congressional districts, and most specifically in the new Congressional District 9. Party Chairman Andrei Cherny jumped ship this week, landing in the District 9 race. He’s being joined by party finance director Lisa Fernandez, who is taking on a similar role with his campaign.

Elections director D.J. Quinlan is joining David Schapira’s District 9 campaign, and grassroots director Justin Unga will soon sign on to Team Sinema as Kyrsten Sinema tries to clinch the District 9 Democratic nomination.

Andy Barr gave new meaning to his role as rapid response manager as he left to work on Richard Carmona’s U.S. Senate campaign after an, ahem, rapid four months at party headquarters.

Earlier this year, party spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson left to work on Ann Kirkpatrick’s District 1 campaign, and research director Jeff Stapleton has moved into City Hall to work with new Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

All of which leaves Heredia and the office cat. But not for long. Party faithful say they still have more staff than their GOP brethren, and they’re attracting lots of interest for the coming campaign cycle.

– Article originally from Arizona Republic.