AZ Medical Marijuana Program Update

May 27th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

In light of recent communication from the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, the Governor asked the Attorney General to file a suit this week asking for a declaratory judgment from a federal court regarding the legality of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and our Rules. We had been planning to begin accepting dispensary applications beginning next Wednesday, June 1 (continuing through June 30).  However, as a result of this legal action, legal advice we’ve received from the AZ Attorney General’s Office and the overall uncertainty about the legality of the Act itself (especially the dispensary parts) we won’t be accepting dispensary applications in June after all.  Whether we accept and process dispensary applications at a later date will depend on the outcome of legal action. However, we will continue to accept and process on-line applications for Qualifying Patient and Designated Caregiver ID cards on our website.

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13 comments

  1. ron m says:

    (contents removed by editor)

  2. absolutely brother,
    (contents removed by editor)

  3. Michelle says:

    Hello Mr. Humble,

    Now that the dispensaries are in “moratorium” there needs to be some more information for the Patients/Caregivers as we move forward with our Arizona Medical Marijuana Program. I appreciate all you have done so far in having a well run program that will be a Model for all the other states once the dispensary piece is litigated.

    QUESTION #1
    With almost 4,000 qualified patients with State IDs, the cultivation piece is now more important than ever since patients will need their medicine and the only way they can have access is to cultivate themselves or designate a caregiver to cultivate for them.

    The application process was based on the dispensary piece being up and running in the late fall per your previous blogs. For patients who did not indicate on their applications they didn’t want to cultivate this was based on their knowing dispensaries would be soon opening to provide them with medication.

    QUESTION:
    With no dispensaries on the horizon for the near how are the almost 1,000 patients already registered but with no cultivation approval going to get access to their medicine?

    Will the ADHS just give approval to all Qualified Registered Patients to cultivate regardless of whether they requested this approval for cultivation on their original application?

    QUESTION #2:
    With the dispensaries in moratorium the role of a designated caregiver is even now more important. Why is your website not allowing for patients to add a caregiver to their registry card?

    I check your website daily and there is no way to add a caregiver onto a patient card even though the rules state that any changes to your registry card must be submitted 10 days to the ADHS?

    QUESTION # 3.
    With no medical directors assigned yet because of the dispensary moratorium how is the ADHS going to handle the education piece of AMMA? Is there a vehicle for having a designated clearinghouse where digitized brochures/research/FAQs/Clinical Studies educational materials are easily assessible by the ID holders?

    QUESTION #4
    In regards to Clinical Studies how is the ADHS notifying Qualified Patients of these studies? How does a patient nofify ADHS that they are research participants in a current study? Will all future clinical studies and their results be posted at the ADHS Medical Marijuana website?

    QUESTION #5
    Why is ADHS not allowing the addition of new medical conditions until January 2012? The Final Rules allow for submission of new medical conditions in July and Jan.

    Please explain why ADHS is not opening up the submission for new qualifying medical conditions in July 2011?

    QUESTION #6
    Do you think in light of the current moratorium on dispensaries this might be a good time to look at a PLAN B in case the ADHS is instructed to start this whole process from scratch?

    Could you revisit how Ypsilanti, Michigan is operating dispensaries which is the Alternative Plan B that was submitted to you months ago and Thomas Salow acknowledged this Plan B and did look at it.

    Thank you
    Michelle

    • Will Humble says:

      Michelle,
      I have an answer for questions 3 & 4..
      QUESTION # 3.
      With no medical directors assigned yet because of the dispensary moratorium how is the ADHS going to handle the education piece of AMMA? Is there a vehicle for having a designated clearinghouse where digitized brochures/research/FAQs/Clinical Studies educational materials are easily assessible by the ID holders?

      ANSWER
      The Department does not have authority to provide “the education piece of AMMA” nor “a designated clearinghouse where digitized brochures/research/FAQs/Clinical Studies educational materials” are assessable to qualifying patients and designated caregivers.
      In addition, since the Department will not be implementing any part of A.A.C. Title 9, Chapter 17, Article 3, Dispensaries and Dispensary Agents that includes medical directors and their related oversight to develop and distribute educational materials related to debilitating medical conditions; possible side effects and contraindications for medical marijuana; descriptions of potential for differing strengths of medical marijuana strains and products; information about potential drug-to-drug interactions; techniques for the use of medical marijuana and paraphernalia; information about different methods, forms and routes; signs and symptoms of substance abuse; and lists of substance abuse programs and referral information, qualifying patients and designated caregivers will need to find other sources for these type of educational materials.

      QUESTION #4
      In regards to Clinical Studies how is the ADHS notifying Qualified Patients of these studies? How does a patient notify ADHS that they are research participants in a current study? Will all future clinical studies and their results be posted at the ADHS Medical Marijuana website?

      ANSWER
      As required in A.R.S. § 36-2804.02 (B) the Department will issue an application for a registry identification card to a qualifying patient which asks if the patient would like to be notified by the Department of any clinical studies needing human subjects for research on the medical use of marijuana. The Department will notify the interested qualified patient of studies that will be conducted in the United States. An e-mail message will be sent to the interested qualifying patient as notification. Because the Department is only required to provide notification, the posting of comparable clinical studies and their results on the Department’s Medical Marijuana website is not currently under consideration, nor is the Department’s collection of information from qualifying patients who decide to participate in clinical studies.

    • Will Humble says:

      Michelle,
      Q/A’s for 5 & 6

      QUESTION #5
      Why is ADHS not allowing the addition of new medical conditions until January 2012? The Final Rules allow for submission of new medical conditions in July and Jan.
      Please explain why ADHS is not opening up the submission for new qualifying medical conditions in July 2011?
      ANSWER
      The final rules, submitted to the Secretary of State with an effective date of April 14, 2011, allow a person to submit a request for the inclusion of a new medical condition to the list of debilitating medical conditions in January and July starting in January 2012.

      QUESTION #6
      Do you think in light of the current moratorium on dispensaries this might be a good time to look at a PLAN B in case the ADHS is instructed to start this whole process from scratch?
      Could you revisit how Ypsilanti, Michigan is operating dispensaries which is the Alternative Plan B that was submitted to you months ago and Thomas Salow acknowledged this Plan B and did look at it.
      ANSWER
      The moratorium on dispensaries is the result of a lack of clarity regarding federal law as related to current state laws for medical marijuana and enforcement of federal law regarding medical marijuana. The current state rules implementing a system for issuing dispensary registration certificates were developed consistent with current state laws for medical marijuana. The Department is waiting for a decision from the courts before proceeding.

    • Will Humble says:

      Michelle,
      Reply to Questions 1 & 2..
      1. We are presently developing an enhancement to our application process for those qualifying patients that have already been licensed to be able to change their cultivation status. The enhancement should be available for use (requesting changes) sometime this month. The Qualifying patients will not be given blanket approval to grow. Qualifying patients must still request to cultivate. Qualifying patients to which this applies will be notified by regular mail (through U.S. Post Office).
      2. The addition of a caregiver will be part of the enhancement described in question 1.

  4. TimC says:

    Is there any kind of indications, as to how long this process might take? Is it days? weeks? months? years? Could this Legal Action could get drawn out for a long time?

    I’m just worried about how the patients of Arizona are going to get medicine in the immediate future. If this gets dragged out a long time, the only people who are going to suffer is the patients that Arizonian’s voted to help.

  5. Frank says:

    You can erase all the comments, but you can not erase the Will of the Arizona Voters.

  6. ML says:

    Mr. Humble,

    If a caregiver lives within 25 miles of a cultivation site are they still allowed to grow for their designated patient if the patient is more than 25 miles from a dispensary? My understanding of the rule is that the 25 mile limitation relates only to the patient not the caregiver. If I read the rule correctly I interpret that to mean that caregivers, dispensaries and cultivators could all be in the same town as long as the 25 mile rule is in tact for the patient. Do I have that right?

  7. WhiteAngelOwl says:

    Is it illegal for a caregiver to provide marijuana to a non card carrying parent who then transports and sales said marijuana to a card holder?????

    • Will Humble says:

      WhiteAngelOwl,
      We can do a couple of things, one being that the caregiver cannot “divert” marijuana, and must attest to that. If marijuana is “diverted,” there may be a violation of the AMMA. If there is a suspected violation of the AMMA, law enforcement may be the appropriate contact.

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