Some of the most important words in the 13-page Arizona Medical Marijuana Act are: “Physician Patient Relationship” and “A Full Assessment of the Qualifying Patient’s Medical History”. The real gatekeepers that’ll determine which applicants ultimately would qualify for a medical marijuana card are Arizona MDs, DOs, Naturopaths and Homeopaths, as they evaluate their patient’s medical conditions and determine who could benefit from the medical use of marijuana.
That’s why the key words above are so important when (or if) we define our Administrative Code. Before a physician signs a recommendation for a patient, they’re supposed to do a “full assessment of the patient’s medical history” and be in a “physician patient relationship”.
If we don’t define these words carefully we could end up like Colorado and California where patients can walk into a medical practice that specializes in medical marijuana recommendations and get a recommendation after a very short exam (which includes a fee). One of the first things I’ll do if the Initiative passes is to ask our legal team at the AGs Office to determine how much authority we have to define these words. If we have the authority, I’d like to somehow craft some criteria that would make sure that some real assessment happens including a discussion of the range of medical management strategies that could be taken to help manage the patient’s condition before a physician can hand out a recommendation. I don’t know if we have that authority, but I sure hope so.