Mark SteinmetzCannabis, commonly known as marijuana, is a flowering plant, documented to have been on Earth for more than 5,000 years. Since 2010, Arizona residents have been able to use marijuana for medical issues – but what does it take, and what does it do?

At 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28, Mark Steinmetz will answer those questions and explain why he believes cannabis can eliminate human suffering and is a viable treatment for a variety of serious illnesses and medical conditions.

The owner, operator and licensee of Nature’s AZ Medicines, Steinmetz is devoted to the management of cultivation, processing and dispensing of state-regulated medical cannabis. 

Steinmetz will present a brief history of marijuana, its primary benefits,  current medical uses, how it compares to opioids, possible risks and side effects and steps to qualify for your own medical marijuana card.  

Nature’s AZ Medicines is the highest-volume dispensary in Arizona and its cultivation-management companies have more indoor and greenhouse square footage under cultivation at present than any other operator in Arizona.

Under Proposition 203, which Arizona voters passed in 2010, in order to purchase medical marijuana, you must be a qualifying patient, who has registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services and received a registry identification card (medical marijuana card.)

Twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C., allow marijuana for medical purposes. Support for medical use is strong nationwide, even among seniors. The University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation recently conducted a poll of more than 2,000 people, age 50 to 80. Eighty percent of the respondents said they support medical marijuana use, if it's recommended by a doctor and 40 percent support marijuana use for any reason.

"Although older adults may be a bit wary about marijuana, the majority support more research," said Alison Bryant, senior vice president of research for AARP. "This openness to more research likely speaks to a desire to find safe, alternative treatments to control pain."

Tickets to all Monday Morning Lectures are $5 at the door of the Renaissance Theater.

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