Medical Marijuana News

January 17th, 2014 by Will Humble Leave a reply »

We published our mid-year update of the medical marijuana annual report this week.  It contains different data than our  standard annual report in that we’re reporting aggregate dispensary transaction data.  In the report you’ll see that there were about 422,000 transactions made at dispensaries in ‘13 among the 40,000 patients (about 10 transactions/patient/year).   Dispensaries sold 2,700 Kg of marijuana in ’13 for an estimated gross revenue stream of about $33M.  Transaction data is broken down by age group as well.   Fridays are the busiest day of the week at dispensaries.  

In other news, we completed our review of the latest petitions to add debilitating medical conditions to the official list this week.  As you recall, the AZ Medical Marijuana Act charges us to periodically accept petitions to add new medical conditions to the list that qualifies folks for a card.  Last summer we accepted petitions from the public to add new medical conditions for PTSD, depression and migraines. We also received a lot of informal comments regarding adding PTSD; depression & migraines and heard in person testimony from dozens of folks at our public hearing in October. 

We also contracted with the U of A College of Public Health to do an evidence review of published scientific studies.  You can see the UA’s analyses for depression; migraine headaches and PTSD on our petition website.  Our ADHS Medical Advisory Committee reviewed and analyzed the data, as in past submission periods, and provided me with recommendations earlier this week. 

Our literature review found limited scientific evidence to support permanently adding the petitioned conditions to the statutory list of qualifying debilitating conditions identified in the Act.  I didn’t approve the petitions because of the lack of published data regarding the risks and benefits of using Cannabis to treat or provide relief for the petitioned conditions.  We’ll be accepting petitions again January 27 – 31, 2014.

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18 comments

  1. Grant says:

    So you found evidence, but not enough to meet your standards? Please elaborate on what these standards are for adequate scientific literature are so we can provide transparency to the people instead of a vague assessment such as “found limited scientific evidence”.

    • Will Humble says:

      The procedure and criteria are outlined in AAC R9-17-106 found here:

      http://azsos.gov/public_services/Title_09/9-17.htm

      A key standard needed to make the case includes:

      Articles, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, reporting the results of research on the effects of marijuana on the medical condition or a treatment of the medical condition supporting why the medical condition should be added.

      We contract with the UA College of Public Health to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of any studies that may exist using the GRADE methodology. These literature reviews are published on our website at:

      http://azdhs.gov/medicalmarijuana/debilitating/

      Finally- my MD committee reviews all of these data and provide me with a recommendation based on the evidence.

      • Bill Hayes says:

        Thank you, game on.

      • Lynne says:

        Have you seen the research at Harvard? What about other countries? They have research on marijuana for a few years. After all it’s been around for a thousand or more years. It is safer than the dangerous drugs being produced by pharmaceutical companies.
        We need to educate the staff who is doing your research for you as I do not seem to find information difficult to research. It helps cancer and Parkinson’s patients. It aids victims with brain tumors…if I had a choice between marijuana and the drug companies it will not be legal drugs that kill you.
        I have a question. They allow It in Colorado for more illnesses so it should be universal. It’s a matter of time before we can sell it in stores like cigarettes, only marijuana will not give you cancer but fight it.

  2. Corey Miller says:

    REALLY ” I didn’t approve the petitions because of the lack of published data regarding the risks and benefits of using Cannabis to treat or provide relief for the petitioned conditions.”
    Why don’t you just go outside your office and hold a sign that says: – I work for pills…
    A spit in the face of every Veteran wanting to treat themselves. I’m done with you crazy folks.
    Mr Humble does not care about Veterans in AZ

  3. James says:

    “I didn’t approve the petitions because of the lack of published data regarding the risks and benefits of using Cannabis to treat or provide relief for the petitioned conditions. We’ll be accepting petitions again January 27 – 31, 2014″.

    This all seems a little disingenuous doesn’t it?. DHS added a requirement to show something that it knows can’t be overcome and doesn’t exist. It is fully aware that since cannabis remains illegal under Federal law, there will continue to be limited scientific data available, however overwhelmingly supportive anecdotal testimony.

    It”s unfair to force PTSD sufferers to secure recommendations based on “severe and chronic pain” only to have opponents cite the overwhelming number of patients in that category as to why the entire program is bogus.

    For all of you who filed the petition, great work! Since one of you is an attorney, It’s probably time for PTSD sufferers (plenty of them returning from war after serving our country) to file a lawsuit striking that requirement as a criteria to add an illness as it’s unreasonable and insurmountable to achieve…and DHS knows it!

  4. Doug says:

    Nothing to see here, EVERY medical patient knew what the decision would be. NO, NO, and NO. Classic Catch-22.

  5. Allen says:

    You realize there is a Hell. Guess where you will spend eternity for your help. The Illuminati worship the devil for a reason. You’re going to burn for your work!

  6. Tommy says:

    Mr. Humble… You are far from humble. You complain in your writing how 80% of the patients are for chronic pain, and you disallow all the conditions that people really get their card for and the have to say chronic pain instead. This is bull. There is more then enough proof and there’s even imperical data that shows chronic pain is being used for other conditions and yet here you are blocking it!!

  7. Juan says:

    “I didn’t approve the petitions because of the lack of published data regarding the risks and benefits of using Cannabis to treat or provide relief for the petitioned conditions.”

    Mr. Humble, there are very few good people in this state who believe your process is genuine. History and God will both judge you in due time.

    I can’t think of a more treasonous act against humanity, than having the ability to help an entire group of sick people (many of them Veterans), but deciding not to because it goes against your personal political interests.

  8. Bill Hayes says:

    Where should I send the data you require sir? I get a google alert every time an article is published. I have terabytes. My dark Web crawlers can find anything sir, anything.

    The truth can only be stifled for so long sir.

  9. Nurse Heather says:

    Understanding there is a process in place, we will continue to take steps through this process. Please know, we will never stop until PTSD patients get the care and consideration they deserve. If medical cannabis safely and effectively manages horrendous symptoms for PTSD patients in NM, it will surely do the same for PTSD patients in AZ. Science is Science & we have provided a plethora of information supporting our claims that cannabis has a therapeutic OR palliative effect on those diagnosed with PTSD. Why make these patients suffer a moment longer, when you know MANY of them are Veterans in need? Please read the public comments submitted for the hearing, they are pleading for our help. Mr. Humble, I promise to do my part. Please, promise to do yours… and let’s work together to stop the suffering of so many in Arizona. Thank you kindly.

  10. Ian M Furlong says:

    please answer the question. How is it that other states have all the evidence you need to acknowledge these requirements, but our state still does not sufficient enough evidence?

    If this is the case I will come to your office everyday to give you a hands on research, were you can witness me on and off Marijuana so that you have a personal take and see what happens when I have an attack to finally stop scrutinizing something you do not know about nor take the time to see that actual benefits.

  11. Chris says:

    For some reason my comments are not valid enough to be posted here? Why is that? There needs to be some clarification concerning the rights of Medical Marijuana card holders pertaining to being denied and discriminated against being hired due to testing positive for THC. There seems to be a fine line here. It has been determined that Marijuana is a medicine for legal card holders. Being a medicine should mean it is no different than ANY other prescribed controlled substance. With that said new hepa privacy laws challenge whether “legal” card holders should be tested at all by employers. I have been denied employment now 8 times in a year and am being forced out of the work force due to employers STILL discriminating against my choice in pain management. So now I have to apply for food stamps, housing, etc. when I am perfectly able to work. I would never use a drug that would impair me at work marijuana included. I take pride in my job and I should be respected to properly medicate only when at home and do not operate a vehicle while using any drug that may impair.me. Under NO circumstances should ANY employer deny or discriminate against hiring ANYONE for medical Marijuana use. What is being done to stop this from happening? I respect Mr. Humble and appreciate all he has done with this program. However this issue needs to be addressed ASAP as the number of people being denied employment is growing. And so is the tax payers money going toward supporting us now that we can not be hired. Thank you so much for your time here. Please help get us back to work Mr.Humble :)

  12. Chris says:

    Mr. Humble, thank you for all your hard work here in Arizona. I have to tell everyone here I was up for a job several times this past year but it was not until recently, when I believe there was more clarification put on the discrimination act for hiring or not hiring I should say medical marijuana card holders. We are making strides and Mr Humble is right up front implementing them as we go. I applied for this job, they required I pass a drug screen, but this time in the email sent to me about what to bring in for the health screen it mentioned all RX scripts including to bring in a Medical Marijuana card if I have one. WOW well that pretty much said it right there that if I test positive for THC as long as I had the medical card I should be all set. You would think so right? I sweated and sweated, everyone said don’t bring the card just stop medicating and use things to flush my system, which I tried and THEY DON”T WORK, so in the end I decided to just be honest, bring the card and just be myself. I take pride in what I do and folks that shines through every time I get an interview. They DID hire me and I have never been so thankful in all my life. So it can be done and thanks again to Mr. Humble and to all his constituents who keep trying to do the best for us as I am sure he and they were instrumental in this ground breaking advance for our states workforce. :)

  13. Ian says:

    “…[T]he usual review process under the Controlled Substances Act was bypassed when Congress itself assigned this status to marijuana. In addition to declaring that marijuana has no value as a therapeutic agent, this designation significantly impeded research into the therapeutic and palliative uses of the drug, since this requires investigators to obtain a special license from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) before they may undertake any clinical investigations of marijuana and indirectly calls upon the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to provide marijuana for such studies.”

    Cohen, Peter, J. “Medical Marijuana 2010: It’s Time To Fix The Regulatory Vacuum.” Journal Of Law, Medicine & Ethics 38.3 (2010): 654-666. CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.

    Q: Is research still impeded in the way Peter Cohen states? If so, how can this change immediately so quality research can take place? …

    A: Quality research can take place if DEA chooses to suspend its negative views on cannabis for research purposes. Can DEA be so principled as to help foster valid research?

    ASIDE FROM MEDICAL NEEDS, RESEARCH: Arizona as a state revenued 33 million dollars last year from medical marijuana. Just saying.

  14. IGF1-LR3 says:

    This all looks a little disingenuous, doesn’t it?.

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