Arizona Medical Marijuana Program Snapshot at 2

April 20th, 2013 by Will Humble Leave a reply »

This month marked the 2nd anniversary of our Arizona Medical Marijuana Program.   We began issuing cards to qualifying patients 2 years ago this week, and as of April 16th we had about 38,000 qualified patients in AZ.

On the Dispensary side of the house…  16 dispensaries are approved to operate in AZ, and another 13 have turned in their paperwork asking for an opening inspection.  All 98 of the applicants that received Registration Certificates last Summer have until August 7th to complete all of our requirements and earn their operating license- because all of the certificates expire on that day.   Also, June 7 is the deadline for prospective dispensaries to turn in their Approval to Operate application.

By the way, the state computer system will be down for maintenance this Saturday 4/20 and there may be intermittent service, but things should be back on-line Sunday.

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22 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Regarding the dispensaries that have opened could you please update everyone on whether any dispensary complaints have been filed and your actions regarding those complaints?

    Also could you let the public and cardholders know you are not accepting any money for the Medical Marijuana Fund? I had made a donation back in January and you took two months to write me a letter saying you are not accepting funds and have closed the program down for accepting funds. Isn’t’ this part of Prop 203 and did you consult with a lawyer before you did this action? Seems to be contrary to the law and I assume you talked with lawyers since you are inviting a lawsuit by your actions.

    Thanks

  2. calvin says:

    Where are the Despensary’s at exactly?? I see if I don’t have one with in a certain amount of miles I can grow my own..I think it’s 20 miles..So If I don’t have one in the foothills of Yuma ..I have to grow my own Medicine..So I don’t want to start growing and have one in my area and be against the law

  3. Bonita Colley says:

    I read this article and clicked on the map of dispensaries. I live in the desert near Quartzsite, where is the dispensary out here? I have never received a list of dispensary locations. Where is this one near Aguila?

  4. Adam says:

    Will, when will additional applications be sought for the next round of dispensaries? And will it be another lottery system? Thx

  5. Ryan says:

    Is there any operating grow facilities? Or are all these dispensaries charging patients top dollar prices for marijuana they did not pay for?

    • Ryan says:

      Mr. Humble these questions are directed towards you since this is your blog. If you could please answer my question about any operating cultivation sites. also why patiens like myself are paying top dollar to Dispensaries like Arizona Orginix for california outdoor marijuana they did not legally pay for? Is there any oversight on where all this marijuana is coming from?

  6. Will Humble says:

    Hi..

    I’ll try to answer these all at once:

    – We’re prohibited by the AMMA from disclosing whether or not there have been any complaints, so if we have complaints about dispensaries- I wouldn’t be able to share that with you

    – A couple of people have offered donations but the offers that I know about came with strings attached that we couldn’t accept.

    – We’re prohibited by AMMA from disclosing the locations of the dispensaries on our website etc. However, after this question, I asked my staff to send an email to all of our Qualified Patients with the locations of all of the (now 19) dispensaries.

    – Everyone should get an e-mail on the account used in their QP application with the list of current dispensaries in the next few days. We will continue to update patients.

    – Regarding future dispensary allocations… I’m going to wait until mid August to decide what to do next. What I decide will depend on how many dispensaries are up and running, and their geographic location. Our rules provide some discretion whether or not or how and when to issue new certificates.

    – Several of the 19 currently operating dispensaries have cultivation facilities. Some don’t. The ones that don’t are relying on donated inventory from caregivers. Others are using the wholesale market via dispensaries with cultivation facilities. We don’t regulate the price. We will be sending our cardholders an updated list of the operating dispensaries shortly. Perhaps one can price shop.

    Will

    • Keith Davis says:

      Thank you Mr. Humble for asking your staff to send an email of the currently open dispensaries to QPs. Perhaps QPs can be emailed a list of open dispensaries every quarter or so? Just a thought. Thanks again.

      • Will Humble says:

        We’re working on a monthly newsletter that will be mailed out to patients with the dispensary locations. The newsletter will come to the email address you identified in your card application.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Humble,

    Say what? Where in the AMMA does it state that dispensary complaints are top secret and not to be revealed to the patients? Rainbow Collective in Tucson is one of the dispensaries with a complaint lodged against it and you have never responded to the person that lodged the complaint. The complaint was the lack of communication by the medical director (Jason Gittman), no sales receipt for a purchase (which tax was charged), lack of proper labeling and very poor information for a patient handout (with lots of errors). Also if such a secret why did you reveal to the dispensary that had a complaint filed that I was the one that filed it. This resulted in my being “banned” from ever using that dispensary based on your recommendation to them. Nice work on behalf of the patients, Mr. Humble.

    Regarding the Medical Marijuana Fund I was one that donated money and I took off all stipulations on how to use the funds and you still closed down the program and sent a letter saying no funds will be accepted and you did this with no notice to the patients. How do you keep defying AMMA which clearly states your Department is to accept private funds and grants.

    If your department is not going to take this program seriously you should let another department take over since you are sitting on millions of dollars and only using it to work with the dispensaries on various lawsuits. When will you get spending money on outside lawyers and fully implement this program.

    An outside audit should be done on every dispensary since they have to track seed to sale and of course the majority of the cannabis is not coming from caregivers since how in the world can the limited number of caregivers donate hundreds and hundreds of pounds of medicine when that medicine should be going to their patients.

    I’ll be posting this at your Facebook page since you have a penchant for scrubbing all comments you don’t like on this blog.

  8. Kenny says:

    Mr. Humble I am asking about what the law means
    — Here is my situation Currently awaiting jury trial for a DUI for illegal metabolite(Medial Marijuana) 28-1381-A3. [Only]. The was no alcohol involved, only that I had a card and was presumed to have marijuana in my system while driving. There was no Marijuana use or marijuana found and no paraphernalia. I have been fighting this since Dec 2011 I have been with the medical marijuana program since April 2011, In trial I am not allowed to mention that I have a Medical card from the State because it is not a “prescription” its a recommendation card. If it is illegal to have Marijuana in your system on the roads of AZ why was I not told this or have an opportunity to choose my license over the Medical card.
    Here is some of the laws in question:
    *(36-2816 – E. Making false statements to a law enforcement official about any fact or circumstance relating to the medical use of marijuana to avoid arrest or prosecution is subject to a civil penalty of not more than five hundred dollars, which shall be in addition to any other penalties that may apply for making a false statement or for the use of marijuana other than use undertaken pursuant to this chapter.) {meaning when asked by law enforcement if I use Marijuana the answer is yes I am a card holder and I use it legally.} (MMJ act does not authorize operating, navigating, or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana. **A registered qualifying patient will not be considered to be under the influence of marijuana solely because of the presence of marijuana in the person’s system that appears in a concentration insufficient to cause impairment.) {as I understand it I should not be prosecuted for driving with a marijuana metabolite in my system as the metabolites can stay in the system for 2-3 weeks.} Yet the AZ DUI laws states (28-1381 A. It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances: A3. While there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body. with a defense **D. A person using a drug as prescribed by a medical practitioner licensed pursuant to title 32, chapter 7, 11, 13 or 17 is not guilty of violating subsection A, paragraph 3 of this section.*) As Marijuana can not be prescribed I am being told that it is illegal to have my Medical card and drive on the streets of Arizona, because Marijuana Metabolite is still illegal in your bloodstream even if its not an impairing concentration, if you are pulled over you are required to answer that you currently are a part of the AZ-MMJ program and with the metabolite lingering for upwards of 30 days they are able to convict you of illegal drug metabolite.
    I know you are busy however this is a problem. I am being prosecuted -Solely for having marijuana metabolite in my system with an insufficient amount to cause impairment yet I am not allowed to use my medial card as a defense because the DUI law insist that its only defense is if it is a prescription. If you could I’m just looking for some assistance to understand how the law is to be interpreted and its protections. Because on the back of my medical card is reads (can impair an individual’s ability to drive a motor vehicle) not that you can not drive for a few weeks after consuming marijuana medically.

  9. Shane Watson says:

    Marijuana supporters are requested to raise their voice to legalize medical marijuana drug. This has several benefits and cure of several diseases

  10. marge says:

    Hi, Dr. Humble:
    IIRC Prop 203/AMMA state that there shall be one (1) dispensary for every ten (10) pharmacies in Arizona, hence the 126 CHAAs. In my neck of the woods, there are at least four (4) big box pharms going up (CVS, Walgreens, &c), so I ass+u+me that the number of new pharms statewide is at least ten, perhaps twice that. Which means possibly two (2) more dispensaries, right? Where will these be located? Will they be allocated to CHAAs with larger populations (the population numbers vary widely per CHAA) or by some other way?
    Thank you,
    Marge.

    • Will Humble says:

      The statute does say 10% of the number of pharmacies. That’s a statewide criteria. So, after this round of dispensary licensing we will look at what the cap is at that time and use that as our benchmark.

  11. tracy says:

    Will,
    Doesn’t it seem unfair to ask those who are on fixed income and on SNAP to have to stop cultivating? It takes a significant investment to cultivate.Once equipment is in place medicine can be grown very afford ably by those who have limited resources. Medical Marijuana dispensaries charge $ 60 for 2 grams, this is the least amount you can purchase. This is not cost effective for low income patients especially when insurance does not cover Medical marijuana.
    Could there be a Grandfather clause built into the system whereby low income individuals could continue cultivating after a dispensary has opened within 25 miles of their home?
    I know this idea isn’t currently part of the rules for the MM program but it does seem like a kind thing to do to suffering low income Arizonians.
    I think it would show compassionate on the side of the Health Department if this Grandfather Clause could be implemented. Thank you for reading.
    Looking forward to your response.

    • Will Humble says:

      The voter approved language says that only folks that live further than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary are allowed to cultivate. We can’t change that- however, we have interpreted the language so that patients with current cards in good standing that are authorized to cultivate can continue to do so until renewal as long as their status or address doesn’t change.

  12. Chris says:

    I would like to know what is being done to protect the rights of those who need to use medical marijuana who are being denied from being hired as new employment, or those being fired from existing jobs? This is clear discrimination regardless of the federal dome employers hide under?

  13. Will Humble says:

    We’re in the process of inspecting dispensaries and issuing operating licenses right now. So far we have issued 33 licenses- and we expect to issue 25 more in the next 2 weeks. Our deadline for getting the approval to operate is in early August. At that point we will know exactly how many dispensaries we have and where they will be.

    Also, we’re working on a monthly newsletter for patients that will provide dispensary locations.

  14. I think marijuana usage should be legalized throughout the U.S. Also, I don’t think employees should be penalized for smoking medical marijuana.

  15. mh says:

    Is there anything now, or anything in the works in regards to the cost of meds.
    I myself have zero income and rely on family for everything. The blackmarket rates dispensaries charge are nearly impossible to afford.
    Thanks

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