Could state lawmakers pave the way for medical marijuana to treat opioid addiction?

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An amendment to a bill would allow opioid addicts to use medical marijuana as part of their treatment. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) An amendment to a bill would allow opioid addicts to use medical marijuana as part of their treatment. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Arizona's Family talked with a recovering heroin addict and mother who thinks it’s a bad idea. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Arizona's Family talked with a recovering heroin addict and mother who thinks it’s a bad idea. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Nick Stavros believes it’s best to stick to the traditional methods of treating opioid addiction which includes drugs that help with withdrawals like Methadone and Vivitrol. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Nick Stavros believes it’s best to stick to the traditional methods of treating opioid addiction which includes drugs that help with withdrawals like Methadone and Vivitrol. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A bill first meant to keep pot out of children’s hands has a new, most likely unseen layer to it.

House Bill 2064’s was originally introduced to make it illegal for dispensaries to sell edible marijuana in packaging that could be attractive to kids.

An amendment would pave the way to allow people suffering from opioid use disorder to use medical marijuana to wean themselves off opioids.

Demitri Downing, a well-known former prosecutor and founder of the Marijuana Industry Trade Association, is on board with the idea.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Opioid crisis in Arizona]

“I think it's fantastic,” said Downing. “So if we can get people using marijuana to alleviate pain rather than opioids, we may be better off as a society.”

Downing called pot “innocuous compared to heroin.”

[RELATED: State health officials release opioid action plan]

Arizona's Family talked with a recovering heroin addict and mother who thinks it’s a bad idea. She tried to replace heroin with marijuana but failed.

“No, it's not going to help at all,” she said.

[RELATED: This is how lawmakers plan to end the opioid crisis]

"I've gotten clean off of heroin and I started smoking weed and you do it and you get used to it and you get bored of it, so you go back to the opiates," she explained. "Realistically, is it going to help me stay sober? No. Is it going to affect my life positively? No.”

Ed Gogek is a psychiatrist who has been outspoken about opposing the legalization of marijuana and opposes the proposed legislation. He also disagrees with the idea to use medical marijuana to treat opioid addiction.

[RELATED: Pill to the needle to the grave: Does gov’s new opioid plan do enough?]

“A lot of addicts truly believe marijuana helps them, but I’ve worked with drug addicts for 30 years and when addicts quit using marijuana and get totally clean and sober they always do better,” said Dr. Gogek. “The idea that marijuana helps opioid addiction is being pushed by the marijuana industry."

State Rep. Vince Leach, R-Saddlebrooke, introduced the bill but was not available for comment Wednesday to explain why he agreed to the amendment.

[RELATED: What is the opioid crisis and how does it affect me?]

Representative Randy Friese, D-Tucson, told Arizona's Family Democrats negotiated the amendment with Leach.

“We worked with Mr. Leach to come to a concession and agreement and compromise to move that bill forward,” he said.

“It's very important to make sure that these packages aren't attractive to children and we pretty much agree with that,” said Rep. Friese. “I think that adding on the opioid amendment on the opioid use disorder will help people that are addicted to opioids to possibly transition to another means to control their pain.”

He added, “I would like to see people transition off of opioids and onto something less damaging.”

Nick Stavros is the CEO of Community Medical Services, a company well known for treating opioid addiction.

Stavros believes it’s best to stick to the traditional methods of treating opioid addiction which includes drugs that help with withdrawals like Methadone and Vivitrol.

[RELATED: Children overdosing on opioids doubles]

“Marijuana could potentially make opioid use disorder worse, it could potentially make it better. I don't know if there's evidence to show either one at this point,” said Stavros. “It should be introduced in a separate bill so that other people, legislators, health officials and everything can assess that on its own."

HB 2064 is in the hands of the Senate.

Follow the bill on the state Legislature's website.

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