The legalization of medical marijuana will likely be on the November 2010 ballot in Arizona. This measure would qualify people with severe medical conditions to get a legal “prescription” for up to 2.5 ounces of pot every two weeks from a state regulated dispensary.
I was assigned by Phoenix Magazine to work with my good friend and journalist Amanda Crawford to cover the issue of medical marijuana in Arizona. In December 2009 Amanda and I went down to Tucson to photograph and talk to patients at Arizona’s only underground medical marijuana clinic, the Tucson Hemp Clinic.
As a photographer I knew it was going to be a challenging shoot. I had no idea if anyone would be comfortable being photographed or how the patients would react to my camera. Amanda did a great job laying the ground work with the woman who runs the clinic ahead of time. Most of the people at the clinic were welcoming and two men, Tom who has AIDS and Don who developed arachnoidits after an on-the-job injury in 1997, did not have any problem with me photographing them smoking marijuana at the clinic. The patients were relaxed, friendly and open to discussing how marijuana helped them. These were not stereotypical “stoners”, they are men and women who use pot as an alternative to pharmaceutical prescription drugs.
Check out the article in the March 2010 edition of Phoenix Magazine. Amanda Crawford is on faculty Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.