Medical Marijuana Implementation in the State of Arizona

I would not be a good attorney unless I prefaced this informative article with a few disclaimers: one) Marijuana remains a controlled schedule I substance and is also illegal inside the eyes of the Federal Government of the United States; two) This information is to not be construed as legal advice, nor is designed to replace the counsel of a lawyer, and also you should seek advice from an attorney before taking some actions in furtherance of the subject matter of this article. Ok, let’s get started.

In the month of November, the State of Arizona passed Proposition 203, that would exempt certain folks from controlled substances laws in the State of Arizona. Nevertheless, it’ll still take a bit of time before medical marijuana is applied as policy in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Health Services has introduced a proposed timeline for the drafting of the regulations surrounding the implementation of Proposition 203. So far, these’re the important time periods which usually must be paid close attention to:

December 17, 2010: The first draft of the medical marijuana rules ought to be released and also made for comment on this particular particular date.

January 7, 2011: This will be the deadline for public comment on the very first draft of rules mentioned above.

January 31, 2011: The next draft of the rules will be released on this particular date. Just as before, it will be accessible for everyday comment as in the draft referred to above.

February twenty one to March eighteen, 2011: More proper public hearings will be held about the proposed rules only at that moment, after which the ultimate regulations will be sent in to the Secretary of State and made public on the office of Administrative Rules internet site.

April 2011: The medical marijuana rules are going to go into effect and be posted in the Arizona Administrative Register.

It is crucial that at all times throughout the consultation process, interested individuals submit briefs and also make oral presentations when permitted. Groups with interests contrary to those of medical marijuana supporters could also be creating presentations, and could convince the State to unnecessarily limit the component or perhaps those who could qualify to view it if there is no voice to advocate in favor of patients’ rights.

A few tips about Proposition 203’s effects

-Physicians may prescribe medical marijuana for their patients under certain conditions. “Physician” is simply not identified in how limited to normal health-related doctors. Osteopaths licensed under Title thirty two, Chapter 17; naturopaths licensed under Title thirty two, Chapter 14; and also homeopaths licensed under Title 32, Chapter 29 may all be eligible to advocate marijuana for the people of theirs.

-In order to be recommended medical marijuana, a person should be a “qualifying patient.” A qualifying in-patient is defined as someone that has been recognized by a “physician” (as described above) as getting a “debilitating medical condition.”

-Debilitating medical conditions include: Cancer, glaucoma, HIV positive status, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, or maybe agitation of Alzheimer’s disease or the healing of these conditions.
A persistent or debilitating medical condition or disease or its treatment that creates more than one of the following: Cachexia or wasting syndrome; chronic and severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy; or persistent and severe muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
Almost any other medical condition or perhaps its treatment added by the Department of Health Services pursuant to Section 36 2801.01.

This very last qualifying condition is underlined since it’s extremely important during the rulemaking process. Although Proposition 203 allows for the general public to petition the Department of Health Services to work out its discretion to add problems under this area, bureaucracy is notoriously difficult to get to change any law. The initial discretionary rules for additional therapies is usually worked out during the public consultations that come about between March as well as December, however, this is not certain.

It is thus crucial that, inside the event that the inclusion of health issues is recognized as during the consultations, any stakeholder who wishes for a medical condition not listed inside the first and foremost two bulleted items above to lobby during the public appointment periods for the Department to put in the extra medical condition on to the list of debilitating health conditions. To boost the prestige of any presentations made to justify putting medical conditions under Section 36 2801.01, it can be useful to solicit the testimony of sympathetic Arizona licensed medical doctors who can testify on paper and at the public hearings about why the suggested condition must be introduced. Documents proving that other jurisdictions, both in the Country and elsewhere, currently use marijuana as cure for the suggested affliction can be beneficial, as would medical journals on the subject.

It should be recalled that despite his cheery YouTube videos about the medical marijuana rule drafting process, Director of Health Services Will Humble had written a submission in opposition to the passing of Proposition 203. He did so on the grounds that the FDA does not test the drug, and even if the federal government’s anti marijuana policy is familiar it shouldn’t be relied on as an authority for unbiased medical marijuana research. There’s no reason to think that Director Humble is going to be any less inclined to obstruct the use of medical marijuana during the rulemaking stage, and most proponents of medical marijuana must be sure to generate their voices heard at the consultations to prevent the obstruction of the purpose of Proposition 203.

Extent of Rulemaking during Consultations

There are other provisions in Proposition 203 which generally will probably be talked about during the initial rulemaking process, and they will probably be the major target of the consultations. The consultations will create rules:
Governing the manner in which the Department of Health Services will recognize the petitions from the public previously pointed out, regarding the inclusion of health issues to the list of the presently enshrined debilitating health conditions.
Establishing the form and content of registration & renewal applications posted under the medical marijuana law.
Governing how the Department is going to consider applications for and renewals of medical marijuana ID cards.
Governing the different factors around the newly legalized nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, including recordkeeping, security, oversight, and other requirements.
Establishing the charges for medical marijuana and patient applications dispensary applications.

One of the most crucial element of the consultation time period will be regarding the rules governing the establishment and oversight of medical marijuana dispensaries. If interest groups lobby the Department to come up with other requirements, oversight, security, and the recordkeeping around dispensaries too restrictive, it will have the effect of reducing the supply of medical marijuana to patients and traveling up the price of medical marijuana because of the shortage of supplies. It could simply become too expensive to comply with all the polices.

During this particular stage, it’s critical that stakeholders-particularly medical marijuana dispensaries from out-of-state, and possibly pharmacists with a little bit of economic knowledge-submit briefs explaining why some proposed regulations may have a damaging impact on the clients this Proposition is designed to help. The proposed regulations have not come out yet, but if they do, they must be closely scrutinized for the possible destructive impact that unnecessarily tough security and also recordkeeping on nonprofit dispensaries could have on patients.

The other major factor in the rulemaking is going to have to complete with the costs. The Department will probably be putting costs for medical marijuana dispensaries during the consultation period. Proposition 203 provides that the fees may not exceed $5,000 per initial software, as well as $1,000 per renewal. Nonetheless, with a few lobbying during the public consultation, it is possible the real charges will be much less since these’re purely the maximum that the Department may well charge.

Discrimination against Medical Marijuana Users

Under Proposition 203, discrimination against medical marijuana users will be prohibited in certain circumstances. Based on our studies, someone may not:

As a school or landlord, refuse to enroll someone or perhaps otherwise penalize them exclusively for the state of theirs as a medical marijuana cardholder, unless not doing this would bring about the loss associated with a monetary or even licensing related benefit under federal law or regulations.
As an employer, discriminate against hiring someone, or maybe eliminate them or perhaps impose some problems on them because they’re a medical marijuana cardholder, unless not doing so would contribute to the loss associated with a monetary or licensing related benefit under federal regulations or law. Employers might nonetheless eliminate people in case the employee is in possession of or even impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of work or perhaps during the time of work.
As a medical care provider, discriminate against a cardholder, including in issues of organ transplants. Medical marijuana have to be viewed as some other medicine given by a doctor.
Be averted, as a cardholder, from having visitation custody or perhaps visitation or perhaps parenting time with a minor, unless the cardholder’s behavior “creates an unreasonable danger to the security of the small as established by clear and convincing evidence.”
Although there are particular prohibitions on discrimination, additionally, there are provisions which often permit discrimination against medical marijuana cardholders: Government medical assistance programs and private health insurers usually are not necessary to reimburse somebody for their medical marijuana use.
No cannabis edibles for sale who possesses home, such as business owners, is necessary to permit medical marijuana on the premises of theirs (this seemingly includes landlords who, even thought they can’t refuse tenants dependent on their being a cardholder, are permitted to prevent cardholders from bringing marijuana onto the landlord’s property).
Companies aren’t required to allow cardholders being under the influence of or perhaps ingest marijuana as you work, even thought the presence of marijuana in the body that is not associated with a sufficient concentration to cause impairment does not build getting under the influence of it.

Regulations Associated with the Establishment of Dispensaries

Although the finalized rules around security, recordkeeping, and any other requirements for medical marijuana dispensaries won’t be started until April 2011, there are certain prerequisites which are enshrined in Proposition 203 itself and also could be known in advance of the moment that the final regulations turn out. These minimum requirements is probably not as hard to stick to as the finalized preferences which are posted in April 2011.

Medical marijuana dispensaries should be nonprofit. They need to have bylaws which preserve their nonprofit nature, however, they need never be seen as tax-exempt by the IRS, nor must they be incorporated.
The operating electronic documents of the dispensaries should include provisions for the oversight of the dispensary plus for exact recordkeeping.
The dispensary must have one secure entrance and must apply fitting security measures to stop and prevent the theft of unauthorized access and marijuana to areas containing marijuana.
A dispensary must not acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply, or dispense marijuana for any purpose besides providing it directly to a cardholder or to a registered caregiver for the cardholder.
All cultivation of marijuana must take place only at a locked, enclosed business at an actual physical address provided to the Department of Health Services during the application process, and accessible only by dispensary agents registered with the Department.
A dispensary could really obtain marijuana from an individual of their caregiver, but only if the patient or perhaps caregiver receives no compensation for it.
Certainly no consumption of marijuana is permitted on the home of the dispensary.
A dispensary is subject to reasonable inspection by the Department of Health Services. The Department have to first offer reasonable notice of the inspection to the dispensary.

Comparison to California’s Medical Marijuana Law

The Arizona law is by no means the same as the law in California. There are certainly some differences between the two, although in some aspects they are similar. This is a comparative analysis of the 2 laws.

Similarities:
Both laws, as a practical matter, allow for wide discretion on the part of a personal physician to prescribe marijuana to individuals that are afflicted by pain. In the Arizona law, “severe and chronic pain” stands out as the legislated standard. In the California law, any “chronic or maybe persistent healthcare symptom” which significantly limits the life of the individual to conduct 1 or more major life activities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and that if not relieved, causes significant injury to the patient’s physical or perhaps emotional safety, qualifies.
Both laws have a selection of diseases that are immediately considered qualifying illnesses due to the prescription of medical marijuana. These include, but are not restricted to, AIDS, cachexia, cancer, glaucoma, chronic muscle spasms, seizures, along with severe nausea.
Both laws have to have the use of an identification card by individuals who have actully been prescribed medical marijuana, after the cardholders already went through a preliminary application process whereby taking the medication has been suggested by a personal physician.
Both states don’t take into account the unusable part of the marijuana place in determining the highest weight of marijuana that is allowable for possession by a cardholder.

Differences:
Though the rules have not been finalized, the Arizona law is found as though it’ll be controlled on the state level and thus consistent across Arizona. The California law, however, is regulated considerably over the municipal level, and consequently the rules around dispensaries can change greatly from one municipality to the next.
The Arizona law gives a broader spectrum of people that are considered a “physician” for the goal of prescribing medical marijuana. In California, only medical doctors and osteopaths are regarded as to be doctors. In Arizona, aside from that to medical doctors & osteopaths, naturopaths and homeopaths will additionally be permitted to recommend medical marijuana.
In California, patients or their caregivers may develop marijuana plants in lieu of using a medical marijuana dispensary. In Arizona, people may primarily grow marijuana or designate somebody else to do this in lieu of seeing a dispensary on the state that there is absolutely no dispensary operating within twenty five miles of the patient’s home.
The maximum possession limit for marijuana in California is 8 ounces per affected individual, whereas the cap is just 2.5 ounces per patient in Arizona.

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Dharmesh Jahah

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