Posts Tagged ‘marijuana’

Debilitating Conditions Hearing

May 24th, 2012

Friday afternoon we’re holding a public comment session about whether or not to add four new debilitating conditions to the medical marijuana program.  The comments should center on scientific studies done on how marijuana affects Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Migraines, Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  We’re looking for peer-reviewed, published studies that show the benefit or the danger of marijuana specific to these four conditions.

For almost a month, folks have been commenting on line about the petitions to add conditions.  More than 80 people have provided input so far.  At the hearing on Friday, speakers will have two minutes to address one of the conditions.  (The hearing will be broken into two segments – the first is to hear about the PTSD studies and runs from 1 until 2:30.  The second half from 2:30 until 4 is for the other three.)   We’ll open the doors at 12:55. 

We’re also streaming the audio from the session on our website for people that can’t make it to Health Services (we’re having technical difficulties with the video- but that might work too by then).  Anybody can use the online comment tool to provide input to the final decision.  There’ll be a room at ADHS to listen to the live stream of comments in our 1740 W. Adams, Phoenix, AZ 85007 building in case the meeting room is over capacity.  The time will be the same as the public comment session – 12:55 – 4 p.m.

Changing anything the voters have created comes with a heavy responsibility – one we take seriously.  We’ll listen to the folks who come to ADHS and read the written comments before we make any decisions about adding new conditions.  The decisions will likely come in July.

Week 1 for Dispensary App’s

May 18th, 2012

We’ll wrap up our first week of accepting medical marijuana dispensary Registration Certificate applications today. We’ve received about 40 applications so far this week- and our team has been doing an excellent job of reviewing the applications for “Administrative Completeness” this week- so much so that we don’t even have a backlog (yet).  

Any applications that are “Administratively Incomplete” (in other words, if they’re missing something) are being returned to the applicants so they can correct whatever is wrong.  In June, we’ll be checking for “Substantive Completeness” (which is a more thorough, quality review), and the applicants will have another chance to make corrections.  We expect to award all of the Registration Certificates on August 7.  If there’s only 1 qualified applicant in a Community Health Analysis Area- that applicant will be awarded a Certificate.  We’ll be holding a random drawing on August 7 to award Certificates in the CHAAs with more than 1 qualified applicant. 

Prospective applicants can check out our Registration Certificate Application ChecklistInstructions, and the official Application on our Medical Marijuana Dispensary webpage.  We’re refreshing our dispensary application page each weekday around the close of business to show how many applications we’ve received by Community Health Analysis Area.  Applicants have until next Friday (May 25) to finish and turn in their paperwork.

Dispensary Application Window Opens

May 14th, 2012

Today marks the start of the 2-week window for applying for a medical marijuana dispensary Registration Certificate in Arizona.  Prospective applicants can check out our Registration Certificate Application ChecklistInstructions, and the official Application on our Medical Marijuana Dispensary webpage.  In the first two hours, seven people had dropped off applications.

We’ll start reviewing applications as they come in- and we’ll stop taking applications at the close of business on May 25.  We’ll have 30 working days to review the applications- and folks will have 20 working days to submit any documents or information that were missing during our review of the application.  We expect to award all of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificates on August 7.  If there’s only 1 qualified applicant in a Community Health Analysis Area- that applicant will be awarded a Registration Certificate.  We’ll be holding a random drawing on August 7 to award Registration Certificates in the CHAAs with more than 1 qualified applicant.

We’ll refresh our dispensary application page every weekday around the close of business to show how many applications we’ve received by Community Health Analysis Area.

 

Dispensary Medical Direction is a Go

May 8th, 2012

One of the outstanding legal uncertainties regarding our implementation of AZ Medical Marijuana Act has been the Compassion First v. Brewer  lawsuit that challenged our authority to require future dispensaries to have a Medical Director.  We’ve always thought dispensary medical  direction was a key component to making sure that future dispensaries act in the best interest of patients and prevent recreational diversion.   After a judge’s ruling today, it looks like we’ll be OK.

Today a Maricopa Superior Court judge denied the Plaintiffs’ “Motion for Leave” to Amend their previous Complaint (which the court invalidated some of our dispensary selection criteria).  The Compassion First were attempting to re-open the case to challenge our requirement that dispensaries have a medical director. 

In his opinion (that largely tracks our argument), the judge denied their Motion, finding that the Plaintiffs failed to provide an adequate basis for declining to bring the medical director challenge in their initial complaint and that we (and the public) would be unduly prejudiced if the Court were to grant their Motion.  Of course, the Compassion First plaintiffs could always appeal- but (for now) the upshot is that we can require future dispensaries to have medical direction.

Marijuana & Opiates – Recent Study Shows a Link

March 29th, 2012

One of the missing ingredients in medical marijuana has been peer-reviewed science- but there is some out there. Studies are happening across the country to see how marijuana impacts and interacts with other drugs.  One small-scale study done by UC San Francisco recently suggests using marijuana with opiates allowed some patients to reduce the amount of opiates needed to manage their pain.  This was a small study done with only 21 patients – so it indicates more research needs to be done.  The paper was published this month in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Qualifying patients in the Arizona registry can receive information about studies like this through the program – when you sign up you can check a box to find out about the studies or we also post information on our website.

Medical Marijuana Cards – Time to Renew

March 13th, 2012

Believe it or not, it’s been almost a year since we started issuing the first medical marijuana cards for qualifying patients and designated caregivers.  This week marks the beginning of the first renewal period for the folks that applied for cards at the start of the program.  Our medical marijuana webpage has instructions and the link to renew cards. There’s also a fact sheet to tell folks what they need to know about renewing cards (and what happens if they don’t renew). 

Some key points to remember: 

  • Qualifying patients must submit a new current photograph, patient attestation form and physician certification form. 
  • The physician certification form must be dated within 90 calendar days of the application submittal.
  • The application fees for renewal are identical to the application fees for a new application.
  • Folks can begin the renewal process 90 days prior to the cards expiration date. 

Folks need to make sure they use the renewal application and not the new application when you are renew your card.   The renewal page will be updated on Thursday – you’ll be able to start renewing late that day or in the evening.

Ink Dry on Final Revised Medical Marijuana Rules

February 27th, 2012

As you know from earlier blog posts a judge ruled in a state case that had challenged our dispensary applicant selection criteria.  The judge’s decision basically struck down several of the selection criteria we had been planning to use to for competitive areas of the state (areas where there will be more than 1 applicant per Community Health Analysis Area). 

Last week our team finished the revisions to the regulations by making adjustments to comply with the judge’s decision and to set a process for identifying a new timeline for accepting dispensary applications.  We’ve shipped the revised rules to the Attorney General’s Office for final review.  Once their review is complete, the AG’s office will file the final package with the Secretary of State- and the revised rules will become immediately effective. 

I’ve heard that there’s a buzz in the community that we’re completely revamping the rules for dispensaries.  This is not the case.  We’ve simply made revisions to comply with the recent  Superior Court Ruling.   We’re still on track to be able to accept dispensary applications in April.  We’d then have  about 45 days to review and award dispensary certificates- so we could potentially award up to 125 dispensary certificates by mid- to late-June. If someone is pretty much ready to go at that point, we could see medical marijuana dispensaries operating in July or August. 

P.S.  There have been a couple of new lawsuits filed against the Department in the last couple of weeks.  One challenges our authority to require a medical director at dispensaries and one challenges other aspects of the rules and the initiative language itself.  It’s unclear whether these cases will impede our progress in getting the dispensaries licensed- but I’m going to do everything I can administratively and otherwise to make sure the dispensary licensing goes forward as planned.

Dispensary Application Timeline Forecast

February 6th, 2012

As you know from earlier blog posts a judge ruled in a state case that had challenged our dispensary applicant selection criteria.  The judge’s decision basically struck down several of the selection criteria we had been planning to use to for competitive areas of the state (areas where there will be more than 1 applicant per Community Health Analysis Area.

Our teams are busy dotting the Is and crossing the Ts right now on an express rule package that would remove the dispensary selection criteria struck down (AZ residency, child support, previous bankruptcies etc.) and to set new dates to accept dispensary applications.  Our rule changes will focus solely on making adjustments to comply with the judge’s decision and to set a new timeline for accepting dispensary applications.  

Our team is making good progress on the Rule package, and we expect to be finished this month (February).  I’ll keep you posted here, and I’ll let you know when the rule package is filed- including a link to the final set of rules.  We’re still on track to be able to accept dispensary applications in April.  We’d then have  about 45 days to review and award dispensary certificates- so we could potentially award up to 125 dispensary certificates by mid- to late-June. If someone is pretty much ready to go at that point, we could see medical marijuana dispensaries operating in July or August.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Update

January 19th, 2012

 

With the recent ruling in Maricopa Superior Court, ADHS is analyzing the best way to responsibly begin accepting applications for medical marijuana dispensaries. Last week, the Governor instructed ADHS to proceed with the dispensary portion of the AMMA. One of the stumbling blocks was the pending Compassion First vs. Arizona case, which challenged some of ADHS’ rules for prospective dispensary owners. Now that the judge has ruled, ADHS is working to determine the next steps to begin accepting dispensary applications.

New Debilitating Medical Condition Applications

January 17th, 2012

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (36-2801.01) directs us to accept and review applications to add new debilitating medical conditions that qualify folks to hold patient registration cards.  We outlined the requirements and review procedures in the Rules we adopted (R9-17-106)- which say that we’ll accept applications every January and July.  We’re planning to accept applications during the last week of January (January 23-27th).

Here’s the process: Once we receive an application, we’ll notify the requester that the application was received, and we’ll begin our review.  In order for an application to be successful, the submitters will need to provide evidence as outlined in the R9-17-106 Rule, including: 1) evidence that the medical condition impairs the ability of the individual to accomplish activities of daily living; 2) evidence that marijuana provides a therapeutic or palliative benefit for the condition; and 3) whether conventional medical treatments provide a benefit for the medical condition.  Applicants need to include data from peer-reviewed scientific journals to support the application.

We plan on partnering with the U of A’s Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and Biomedical Campus teams to review the requests. They’ll be providing us with valuable support, including researching the applications and providing us with summary reports and recommendations using students, faculty and their extensive public health and medical expertise.

If the information provided by the applicant meets the requirements, we’ll schedule a public hearing to discuss the request and provide a date for the hearing.  If the information provided doesn’t meet the requirements, we’ll notify the requester with reasons and provide for a process for requesting judicial review.  You can see more information about the process in our Fact Sheet on submitting petitions.