Medical Marijuana Rulemaking Underway

October 11th, 2013 by Will Humble Leave a reply »

A few weeks ago a Superior Court judge decided that a portion of our medical marijuana regulations are unreasonable because they lack a formal appeal process for dispensary registration certificate holders who don’t earn their approval to operate within 1 year.  Because of the  ruling, we approved renewal requests for all the current dispensaries (open or not).  The ruling also means we need to modify our rules.

Now that we’ve completed the overhaul of our medical, skilled nursing, assisted living and behavioral health rules (18 Articles in all)- we’ve turned our attention toward amending our medical marijuana rules.  We began that process this week by scoping out modifications to the rules for renewing dispensary certificates.  We’re also planning to make some modifications to the “25-mile rule” (measuring by road rather than “as the crow flies”), eliminating the former “year 2” selection criteria for dispensaries by focusing on vacant CHAAs rather than patient density, and removing the lifetime disqualification for those applicants that receive a dispensary registration certificate but don’t execute.

Once we have an initial “straw-man” draft, we’ll solicit public comment and have oral proceedings just like we did for the original rules in 2011.  We think we’ll be able to work through the process and establish the modified rules by the Fall of 2014.

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44 comments

  1. Cannabis Patient says:

    Waiting Moderation…You mean Censoring !!

  2. Arlin Troutt says:

    No place in the language of Prop 203 does it say that a patient living within 25 miles of a dispensary cannot grow marijuana. That language “flew like a crow” out of Will Humbles imagination. The only references to 25 miles in Prop 203 asks patients living a long distance from a dispensary to list their cultivation site on their ADHS applications. The ADHS then asks for a pledge not to divert cannabis for illegal use: OK. This 25 miles crow crap seems to be directed at keeping the price of cannabis criminal, dangerous and unaffordable. The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act was not passed to create revenue for Will Humble, the ADHS, the State of Arizona or the illegal Mexican marijuana trade. Will Humble has created a Tsunami of complicated and expensive lawsuits that Arizona Taxpayers will pick up the tab for. This same Medical Industry Cartel that seem to be at war with medical marijuana patients also pushed Prop 106 through to wreck Obamacare. However, Prop 106 unintentionally gave Arizona medical patients the right to go directly to their doctors for medicine and treatment without being forced to go through a state or private 3rd party healthcare provider. All of this makes this 25-mile rule laughable moot. And this is what Will Humble really needs to be talking about in his ADHS Medical Marijuana Blog.

    • Will Humble says:

      Here is the voter approved statute regarding qualifying for a registration card regarding cultivation:

      36-2804.02. Registration of qualifying patients and designated caregivers

      A. A qualifying patient may apply to the department for a registry identification card by submitting:

      3. An application, including:

      (f) A designation as to who will be allowed to cultivate marijuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use if a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary is not operating within twenty-five miles of the qualifying patient’s home.

      • Concerned says:

        “A designation as to who will be allowed to cultivate marijuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use.

        -if a registered-nonprofit-medical-marijuana-dispensary…… is not operating within twenty-five miles of the qualifying patient’s home.”

        voters need to write a new law or amendment or whatever. ISO MORE LEGAL WEED its too expensive right now. ISO cheaper medicine. Just because I live in a modern city I cant designate a caregiver and have them grow for me resulting in cheaper medicine because of the 25mile rule. Get yourself together Arizona!

        • Concerned says:

          Also would like to be able to medicate properly with strong hash cakes. These restrictions we have on extracts, oils and resins is inhibiting strong edibles for patients who would like to not smoke so much, or at all. I don’t have cancer but breakthrough pain is hard to mitigate with less than proper medication.

          I would like to only medicate with cannabis. There are forms of the plant that can help so much. Rick Simpson Oil or Phoenix Tears.

          • Will Humble says:

            As I mentioned in a previous post, there is a difference between the definitions of useable marijuana in the AMMA (Title 36) and the Title 13 Criminal Code definition. While I can’t change state law to harmonize these definitions, we will be coming out with some guidance later this month for dispensaries regarding the sale of extracts and edibles.

      • Arlin Troutt says:

        Mr. Humble, I believe it is unfair for you to censor my reply to your response to my complaint about your interpretation of this 25-mile flying crow dispute. In the name of fairness I am requesting that you publish my response to your reply to my complaint.

        • Will Humble says:

          I didn’t post it because of the disparaging personal remarks. If you resubmit a comment that focuses on the issue rather than personal references I’ll be happy to post it.

      • D Cassidy says:

        The only authority that the Department has to deny a qualifying patient of a registry ID card is the ARS Mr.Humble has mentioned? Until this section of the ARS is changed or found to be otherwise… – the law is the law. UNFORTUNATELY!

      • Arlin Troutt says:

        The language of the ARS 36-2804.02 A.3,(f) only implies that if a qualifying patient lives within 25 miles of an MMJ dispensary they are allowed to choose and not required to divulge their legal source for medical marijuana unless they wish to cultivate or rely on a caregiver also.

  3. bill says:

    Mr Humble, your office has issued statements in the past regarding cannabis use under the AMMA. I will use the correct scientific and botanical term in my question here because science and botany will eventually be the resolve to this issue in front of a judicial body.
    Your office has previously issued statements that clearly suggested edibles were allowed under the AMMA, did it not?
    That statement was later REMOVED and subsequently followed by the blog posts and statements that lead us to where we are today, dealing with an extremely ambiguously written law. One so ambiguous that even your office isn’t clear on the interpretation?

    Did you or did you not publicly inform patients that edibles were allowed under the law?
    Did you or did you not promulgate a rules package that allowed for marijuana infused edible products and marijuana infused non edible products?

    Do you believe that the combination of events that have occurred since your rules package was released were not a direct result of the confusion caused by your statements to the public via your blog and other media outlets?

    Again I thank you for finally warning the patients that were confused regarding this topic.

    Sincerely,
    Bill Hayes

    • Will Humble says:

      Edibles from dispensaries are clearly contemplated in both the AMMA and our rules. I did post a comment a few months ago regarding edibles and tinctures and dispensaries. I later removed that post after my legal counsel advised me that the issue is more complicated than what I had posted. As for my performance in this job… I’m just doing the best that I can with our complex mission- but I’m not perfect.

      • anonymous says:

        All we are asking is for you to educate yourself and improve yourself, sir or get out of the way and let somebody who knows this plant regulate it properly in this stepping stone to full blow legalization. If you don’t know how to do your job because of ignorance and don’t want to learn because of prejudices based on lies and propaganda…then leave your position for somebody who does know this plant. There is a lot of science now to prove that this is a non-toxic plant that never killed a single person in history, unless you count the violence created out of the black market by making NATURE illegal, so that the criminal banking cartels that hijacked our country would have no natural competition to their synthetic markets that they were trying to introduce…farmers vs bankers, one helps life flourish and the other only creates artificial money, inflation and scarcity to control the masses.

        Man made rules and regulations be dammed when it comes to protecting our God given natural resources and liberties, anyone who feels any different is a traitor to the principles and philosophies that this great country was founded on and deserve to be charged as a traitor and a trial by the every day people that these rules and laws affect. Mainly the bureaucrats and politicians that hide their ignorance and cowardice behind these type of laws when science and the will of the people demand different.

        We also believe in second chances for people who want to learn and improve themselves and want to contribute to the positive change we will be willing into existence, making nature and hemp and cannabis legal again by repealing the whole prohibition and having laws only for regulation to keep it out of the hands of minors. This is only the first step to healing this country environmentally and economically, next is having a bank that is ran by the Congress and the Treasury instead of a private conglomeration of criminal banking cartel families that charge us interest to print our debt based currency and basing our currency on inflation proof natural resources…like AGRICULTURE! (Did you know that the button “LEGAL TENDER” on the old cash registers was derived from legally trading natural resources and that the most predominate one was…HEMP!!! You could actually pay your taxes with it because it was so valuable for so many different things. At one time in this country if you had more than a 1/4 acre it was ILLEGAL for you NOT to grow hemp, again because it was so needed.

        The next adjustment you will be making to your program is the complete removal of the UNCONSTITUTIONAL, 25 mile rule. If that word means little to you these days, know that the constitution and the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the SUPREME law of this land and means everything to us. You will comply when this lawsuit forces you too, because the will of the people and natures right to be free will triumph over corruption and greed that spawned the ugly prohibiton to begin with that takes away one of a farmers greatest natural resources to provide fiber, biofuel, bio-plastics, hemp-crete, paper, rope, canvas (got its name derived from cannabis), paints, etc. etc. etc…we will win another victory to Free the Trees!!! Eventually it will not be the responsibility of the Health Director to “protect” us from a non-toxic plant. We find it is quite ridiculous that you have to now, but we understand the baby steps that we need to take to get us to our goal and truly protecting people from thugs with badges and prejudices is our main focus while we work on the the big picture.

        “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”

      • Bill Hayes says:

        Thank you again for doing what you can to inform the patients involved. You do have access to major media and it would be a much more efficient way to reach a majority of the patients in AZ.

        I understand why you made the comment and why they made you remove it.

        I will continue to defend your performance if you continue to act in the best interest of the patients, some very very sick patients, that are looking to you for guidance sir.

        I might have to call you as a witness in my defense based on the statements mentioned above but I want you to know I place no blame on you Mr Humble, you are after all only one man and you are doing your best as is your team I am sure. I am simply pointing out that until the law is not as ambiguous as it reads now we will continue to have conflicts and a bright line ruling is in order to say the least.

        1 <3 AZ

        Bill H

  4. marc says:

    greetings,
    why are the rules for Dispensaries being changed more than once,and Patients rights are not ? except for the flying crow?
    WE THE PEOPLE………………………………………………..

    • Will Humble says:

      The primary reason we’re opening up and revising the rules is to comply with a Superior Court decision. However we do intend to make some additional revisions- and we will also have additional rounds of public comment.

  5. Kimberly says:

    Mr Humble,
    As one of the applicants who did not receive a license in the first lottery, I find it deplorable that you are suggesting that it will take you until fall of 2014 for tweaking the rules. The AMMA states that the state of AZ will hav 126 dispensaries in this state. You parceled out 99. Where in the AMMA does it state the AZDHS can stagger the licenses in this fashion. You are allowing an unfair advantage to the first round dispensary owners, and hurting the industry as a whole while dragging this out. I think for those that did not receive a license have a right to know under what rules and regulations or law allows you to stagger the licenses, and for such a long period. There is no reason it should take your dept this long. Please explain to all the applicants who spent thousands of dollars to submit an application, why you are withholding the remaining licenses? This is unprecendented foot dragging. Why do you need this amount of time to open the lottery procedure again? Is another lawsuit needed to force you to do your duty? It appears that is the only way we can get anything done.

    • Will Humble says:

      We were able to complete our original Rulemaking in 120 days because that round of Rulemaking was exempt from the standard Title 41 requirements for promulgating rules because of language that was in the AMMA. This round is not exempt, so we will need to follow the full process including going to the Governors Regulatory Review Council and conducting an economic impact evaluation. Standard Rulemaking takes many months and the fall of ’14 is actually pretty aggressive.

      • bill says:

        Very aggressive, good luck sir.

      • Arlin Troutt says:

        Mr. Humble, the Obama Administration immediately put out a memorandum from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office laying out the guidelines for a stand down on medical marijuana. This policy still exists. The Feds were not going after medical marijuana operations that fell below $480,000 a year. When the AMMA passed Arizona had the opportunity to stand down on medical marijuana. The price would have plummeted for medical marijuana and the true need for Mexican marijuana and the violence that comes with it would have also plummeted. All ya’ll had to do was stand down like the Obama Administration directed. Instead you turned the medical marijuana program into a multimillion dollar a year State run program piled on the backs of medical marijuana patients. This did violate federal guidelines and that’s what called the federal dogs into the hunt. Then to wreck Obamacare your political affiliates passed Prop 106 giving Arizona citizens the right to go directly to their physician for medication and treatment in direct payment and privacy. We have a complicated medical marijuana mess in Arizona that promises a tsunami of litigation and unnecessary pain, suffering and death. All you need to do is simply: Stand Down on Medical Marijuana. Just Stand Down.

  6. Burningman says:

    If the 25mile rule is modified to be based and measured by road travel, does this also mean that the requirement for 500 feet from a school or other protected use also be measured by road travel? Thanks!

    • Arlin Troutt says:

      Burningman, did you bother to read the law that Will Humble posted here that he is claiming he got “his” imaginary 25 mile rule from. There is no 25 mile rule Burningman. Read the law.

    • Will Humble says:

      The 500 foot and other like provisions are up to local jurisdictions like cities- and local jurisdictions will make decisions like this regarding whether to measure by road or radius.

      • D Cassidy says:

        “…within twenty-five miles of the qualifying patient’s home.”

        I have thought that this means from patients home to dispensary and back to patients home… The latter would be considered “within” 25 miles of an operating dispensary.

        The means that the Department has used and will use only addresses a straight line or the action of going some where as the final location. What about getting back to your home? Does this not count as “within”?

        If you are going to use a geolocation system such as Google Maps to firgure “within”… Does this only apply to the action of going to the dispensary and not the action of going from your home to the dispensary and back home?

        When is the public able to comment on the 25 mile rule change? Same day and time as the PTSD petition?

  7. Arlin Troutt says:

    It appears that my request for Mr. Humble to publish my response to his reply to my complaint in the name of fairness has fallen on deaf ears.

    • Will Humble says:

      As I mentioned, I’ll post if you remove personal disparaging remarks and stick to issues of policy.

      • Arlin Troutt says:

        Mr. Humble, the problems Arizona’s medical marijuana patients are facing are based in a big way on your personal interpretations of the language of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) in your rule making process. When Judge Gama ruled against you on the first of several legal complaints that have gone against you, he went so far as to state that you illegally imposed medical marijuana rules. That is a disparaging comment.

  8. SAM says:

    Mr.Humble, how can we locate the areas of the state that do not fall within the 25 miles of a dispensary? The state’s website claims that only 96.5% of the population is within that range of a dispensary. Yet every zip code in the state is rejected by your website as within the 25 miles! Are you looking to cover the entire state?

  9. D Cassidy says:

    What is your Mission?

    We are all human and make mistakes but it would be a mistake to have a Mission based on mistakes that are not corrected.

    How does the department interpret the rules and ArizMMA in regards to edibles or any preparation of marijuana for food or drink? Or consumption(administration)?

    What is the method, standard or test that is used to determine that the edible is in fact legal?

    This is very confusing to a patient that simply wants to prepare a medicinal meal to eat.

    D YT Cassidy

  10. Phillip says:

    I live in Arivaca, Arizona. A dispensary was just opened in Rio Rico and patients requesting to cultivate are being denied even though Rio Rico is over 40 miles away and through 2 federal checkpoints that have no respect for state law. Patients are not going to pay for their card, be detained by the federal government, and/or be compelled to burn down the dispensary while the rules are in limbo. We need our medication. Not excuses.

  11. Arlin Troutt says:

    Mr. Humble, if you will post my reply to your response to my complaint, I will publicly apologize for any disparaging personal remarks you feel I made. I do not wish to be unkind and I do not like to see people needlessly suffer.

  12. Arlin Troutt says:

    The language of the A.R.S. 36-2804.02 A.3,(f) Does not mention medical marijuana (MMJ) patients living withing 25 miles of a MMJ dispensary. This language only implies that if a qualifying patient lives within 25 miles of an MMJ dispensary they are allowed to choose and not required to divulge their legal source for medical marijuana unless they wish to cultivate or rely on a caregiver also. This request (may) for a registered medical marijuana patient living a distance from a dispensary to designate who that patient wishes to cultivate cannabis for them does not come close to your interpretation of this so called “25-mile As the Crow Flies” rule. Please remember that this confusion accounts for people not utilizing the program and amounts to more unnecessary pain, suffering, death and legal chaos.

  13. william says:

    I am curious how the dispensaries not only are selling infused products but are selling infused products made in other states too? The AZ dispensaries just had their own awards show and the winner of the edibles award was an out of state product.
    How is this possible if the state was actually regulating the dispensaries?

    Could you also show where in the AMMA it says I am only allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of mmj? The only part I read was that 2.5 ounces was the max amount I could get from a dispensary in a two week period. So I assume I can actually possess more, just not buy more than 2.5 oz. from a dispensary.

    • Will Humble says:

      According to our regulations and the statute that the voters passed all the product must be fron in-state sources. I will check with my team on this issue.

      You should consult with your lawyer regarding possession amounts. Patients can only purchase 2.5 Oz from a dispensary every 2 weeks. You should consult a lawyer if you are a patient want to possess more than this- as you may have some legal exposure.

      • ConcernedAgain says:

        http://www.acluaz.org/issues/drug-policy/2013-10/4233

        -EXERPT from link above.
        ….”Fearing criminal prosecution, Zander Welton’s parents had to stop giving him a medical marijuana extract that was successfully treating his severe seizure disorder.

        Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, but Maricopa County Attorney William Montgomery wrongly claims that the law applies to the marijuana plant only and that using extracts from the plant is a crime.”

        “ACLU Files Suit to Protect Access to Medical Marijuana in Arizona”

        Poor kid…Poor patients of Arizona!

        -I hope these patients will have better access to their medicine! IN ALL FORMS!

      • D Cassidy says:

        Sir, your team needs to look simply at their advertising to find these question.

        Here is a licensed dispensary advertising candy with this so-called “cannabis” infused in their product. This is a serious issue because this is now putting patients and their caregivers at risk for buying medicine from a dispensary.

        http://i.imgur.com/La9oUAK.jpg

  14. David says:

    Mr. Humble-
    I understand that the so-called caregivers have found a new loophole in the 25 mile rule…..find a homeless person or five, give him a few bucks and a new address in Tonopah, then help them apply for a patient card and bingo your back in business!

  15. ArlinTroutt says:

    Mr. Humble, this is not my theory getting tested in the courts right now, this is your theory.

  16. ArlinTroutt says:

    Thank you William for taking the time to actually read the language of the AMMA.

  17. Wow, good work! With all the new laws and states engaging it is truly a very interesting time we are observing.

  18. Chris says:

    My comments here are valid and I would appreciate a response .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 :)

  19. Farrok says:

    The 25 mile rule is Discriminating against some and giving Privilege to others and that is against the Arizona State Constitution as all Citizens are to be treated equally!

    The Discrimination is financial. For example: I live within the 25 mile rule so I comply with the law and go to a Marijuana dispensary.

    Medical Grade Marijuana is Not cheap and the impact on a sick and injured persons finances are deeply felt. Most are older people.

    In fact when a person is sick or injured it is therapeutic for them to grow their own plants and reduce the cost of their Medication. If you grow it you know it…… You know exactly what you have.

    Now on the other hand, the other Medical Marijuana Patient lives out side of the 25 mile zone and he or she grows their own plants and the cost very Low and the impact on their finances are minimal.

    One Citizen pays Up $ by Law and one Citizen grows his own Medication for Free all based on geographical location within the same State Boundary?

    The 25 mile rule is harming the sick and ill by forcing them to purchase at a Dispensary when they could have grown their own Medicine at a fraction of the cost.

    This is called Unequal Treatment before the Law………

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