Medical Marijuana Implementation within the State of Arizona

I wouldn’t be best attorney unless I prefaced this short article with a few disclaimers: one) Marijuana is still a controlled schedule I substance and it is illegal within the eyes of the Federal Government of the United States; two) This information is to never be construed as legal advice, nor is designed to replace the recommendations of a lawyer, and you need to consult with an attorney before taking some behavior in furtherance of the subject matter of this information. Ok, let us begin.

In the month of November, the State of Arizona passed Proposition 203, which would exempt particular individuals from controlled substances laws and regulations in the State of Arizona. However, it’ll still take a little time before medical marijuana is applied as policy in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Health Services has made available a proposed timeline for the drafting of the rules that involve the implementation of Proposition 203. Thus far, these’re the key time periods that ought to be paid close attention to:

December seventeen, 2010: The original draft of the medical marijuana rules ought to be released as well as made available for comment on this particular date.


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

January 31, 2011: The next draft of the guidelines is released on this date. Just as before, it is going to be offered for casual comment as in the draft described above.

February 21 to March eighteen, 2011: More formal public hearings is kept about the proposed guidelines at this time, and after that the final rules will be posted to the Secretary of State and made public on work of Administrative Rules site.

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

It is important that at all times throughout the consultation process, interested people submit briefs and/or make oral presentations when permitted. Groups with interests despite those of medical marijuana advocates may also be making presentations, and could convince the State to unnecessarily control the substance or even those who could qualify to access it if there is no voice to advocate in favor of patients’ rights.

A few tips about Proposition 203’s effects

-Physicians may suggest medical marijuana for their people under certain conditions. “Physician” shouldn’t be defined in a way restricted to normal medical doctors. Osteopaths licensed under Title thirty two, Chapter seventeen; naturopaths licensed under Title 32, Chapter fourteen; and homeopaths licensed under Title thirty two, Chapter 29 may all be qualified to recommend marijuana for their patients.

-In order to be recommended medical marijuana, someone must be a “qualifying patient.” A qualifying diligent is determined as someone that has been recognized by a “physician” (as outlined above) as having a “debilitating medical condition.”

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

This last qualifying condition is underlined because it’s extremely important during the rulemaking process. Although Proposition 203 provides for the public to petition the Department of Health Services to exercise its discretion to include conditions under this section, bureaucracy is notoriously challenging to get to change any law. The initial discretionary rules for additional treatments might be worked out during the public consultations which usually arise between December and March, though this is not certain.
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It is thus essential that, in the event that the inclusion of health problems is considered during the consultations, any stakeholder who wishes for a problem not mentioned in the first two bulleted items above to lobby during the public consultation times for the Department to put in the additional medical condition on the list of debilitating medical conditions. So as to take the prestige of any presentations made to justify adding medical conditions under Section 36-2801.01, it may be helpful 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 showing that other jurisdictions, each in the United States and elsewhere, currently use marijuana as cure for the offered affliction may be beneficial, as would health-related journals on the topic.

It need to be remembered that despite his cheery YouTube videos about the medical marijuana principle drafting procedure, Director of Health Services Will Humble wrote a submission in opposition to the passing of Proposition 203. He did so on the cause that the FDA doesn’t test the drug, and even though the federal government’s anti-marijuana policy is well known it should not be relied on as an expert for impartial medical marijuana research. There is absolutely no reason to think that Director Humble will be any less inclined to obstruct the usage of medical marijuana during the rulemaking stage, and most proponents of medical marijuana needs to be sure to make their voices heard at the consultations to prevent the obstruction of the intent of Proposition 203.

Extent of Rulemaking during Consultations

There are additional provisions in Proposition 203 that will be reviewed during the original rulemaking process, and they will likely be the main target of the consultations. The consultations will produce rules:
• Governing the manner in which the Department of Health Services will accept the petitions from the public previously stated, regarding the addition of health conditions on the list of the currently enshrined debilitating medical conditions.
• Establishing the sort and content of registration and renewal applications submitted under the medical marijuana law.
• Governing how the Department is going to consider uses for & renewals of medical marijuana ID cards.
• Governing the assorted elements around the freshly legalized nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, including recordkeeping, security, oversight, as well as other requirements.
• Establishing the fees for medical marijuana and patient applications dispensary applications.

The most crucial part of the consultation time will be regarding the rules governing the establishment as well as oversight of medical marijuana dispensaries. If interest groups lobby the Department to make other requirements, oversight, security, and the recordkeeping around dispensaries too restrictive, it is going to have the effect of lowering the supply of medical marijuana to patients and driving up the price of medical marijuana because of the shortage of supply. It could just become too expensive to comply with all of the laws.

During this stage, it is critical that stakeholders-particularly medical marijuana dispensaries from out-of-state, and maybe pharmacists with a little financial knowledge-submit briefs explaining why some proposed rules may have a bad affect on the patients this Proposition ought to help. The proposed rules haven’t come out yet, however, if they do, they must be closely scrutinized for the possible negative impact that unnecessarily tough security and recordkeeping on nonprofit dispensaries might have on people.

The other significant factor in the rulemaking will have to do with the fees. The Department will be setting fees for medical marijuana dispensaries during the session time. Proposition 203 provides the fees may not exceed $5,000 per primary program, as well as $1,000 per renewal. Nonetheless, with some lobbying in the public consultation, it is likely the actual costs will be much less since these are merely the optimum that the Department may charge.

Discrimination against Medical Marijuana Users

Under Proposition 203, discrimination against medical marijuana users is prohibited in certain circumstances. According to the analysis of ours, a person might not:

• As a school or even landlord, refuse to enlist someone or perhaps otherwise penalize them entirely for the status of theirs as a medical marijuana cardholder, unless not doing so would contribute to the loss associated with a monetary or perhaps licensing associated advantage under federal law or regulations.
• As an employer, discriminate against getting another person, or perhaps terminate them or even impose any conditions on them as they are a medical marijuana cardholder, unless not doing so would result in the loss of a monetary or perhaps licensing related benefit under federal law or regulations. Employers might still terminate workers in case the employee is in possession of or damaged by marijuana on the premises of the location of employment or perhaps during the days of employment.
• As a medical care provider, discriminate against a cardholder, which includes in matters of organ transplants. Medical marijuana need to be managed as any other medicinal drug recommended by a personal physician.
• Be stopped, as a cardholder, from having visitation custody or visitation or even parenting time with a minor, unless the cardholder’s action “creates an unreasonable danger to the protection of the small as established by clear and convincing evidence.”
Although you will find certain prohibitions on discrimination, there are also provisions that permit discrimination against medical marijuana cardholders: • Government medical assistance programs as well as personal health insurers are not necessary to reimburse a person for their medical marijuana use.
• Nobody who has property, including business proprietors, is necessary to allow medical marijuana on the premises of theirs (this apparently includes landlords who, even thought they can’t refuse tenants based on their becoming a cardholder, are permitted to stop cardholders from bringing marijuana onto the landlord’s property).
• Employers are not required to allow cardholders to be under the influence of or perhaps ingest marijuana while working, though the presence of marijuana in the body and that is just not associated with a sufficient concentration to cause impairment doesn’t establish being under the effect of it.

Regulations Related to the Establishment of Dispensaries

Although the final rules around safety, recordkeeping, as well as other needs for medical marijuana dispensaries will not be started until April 2011, there are specific requirements which are enshrined in Proposition 203 itself and also can be known in front of the time that the final rules turn out. These minimal requirements may not be as hard to stick to as the ultimate requirements that are published in April 2011.

• Medical marijuana dispensaries should be nonprofit. They have to have bylaws which preserve their nonprofit characteristics, even thought they need never be considered tax exempt by the IRS, or should they be incorporated.
• The operating files of the dispensaries should incorporate provisions for the oversight of the dispensary and for accurate recordkeeping.
• The dispensary must have one secure entrance and must implement relevant security measures to stop as well as keep the theft of marijuana and unauthorized access to places that contain marijuana.
• A dispensary mustn’t acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply, or even dispense marijuana for any objective other than providing it directly to a cardholder or perhaps to a registered caregiver of the cardholder.
• All taking care of marijuana need to take place just at a locked, enclosed facility at a physical address offered to the Department of Health Services during the application process, and accessible only by dispensary representatives authorized with the Department.
• A dispensary can get marijuana from a patient of the caregiver of theirs, but only if the individual or caregiver receives no compensation for it.
• No use of marijuana is permitted on the home of the dispensary.
• A dispensary is subject to affordable inspection by the Department of Health Services. The Department have to first offer reasonable notice of the evaluation to the dispensary.

Comparison to California’s Medical Marijuana Law

The Arizona law is in no way the same as the law in California. There are certainly some differences between the 2, nevertheless, in some respects they’re very similar. This’s a comparative analysis of the 2 laws.

Similarities:
• Both laws, as an useful matter, allow for wide discretion on the part of a personal physician to prescribe marijuana to individuals that suffer from pain. In the Arizona law, “severe and chronic pain” stands out as the legislated standard. In the California law, any “chronic or even chronic medical symptom” which substantially limits the lifespan of the individual to conduct one or more major life activities as determined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or even that if not reduced, will cause serious harm to the patient’s physical or mental safety, qualifies.
• Both laws have a number of illnesses which are immediately considered qualifying illnesses for the prescription of medical marijuana. These include, but are certainly not limited to, AIDS, cachexia, cancer, glaucoma, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, and severe nausea.
• Both laws require the use of an identification card by people who are prescribed medical marijuana, after the cardholders have gone through a short application process where the use of the medication have been recommended by a physician.
• Both states don’t factor in the unusable part of the marijuana plant in figuring out the greatest weight of marijuana which is allowable for possession by a cardholder.

Differences:
• Though the rules have not been finalized, the Arizona law appears as though it will be managed on the state level and thus consistent across Arizona. The California law, nonetheless, is regulated considerably over the municipal level, and consequently the rules around dispensaries are able to change greatly from a single municipality to the future.
• The Arizona law provides a broader spectrum of people who are thought to be a “physician” for the goal of prescribing medical marijuana. In California, only medical doctors & osteopaths are considered to be physicians. In Arizona, in addition to medical doctors and osteopaths, homeopaths and naturopaths will even be allowed to prescribe medical marijuana.
• In California, people or even the caregivers of theirs could grow marijuana plants in lieu of utilizing a medical marijuana dispensary. In Arizona, people may just grow marijuana or even designate someone else to take action in lieu of visiting a dispensary on the condition that there’s no dispensary operating within 25 long distances of the patient’s place.
• The greatest possession limit for marijuana in California is 8 ounces per patient, whereas the cap is only 2.5 ounces per patient in Arizona.

-This is not meant to be legal advice and is also provided purely as an assessment of the current legislation. You should talk to an attorney to go over these matters. We’re out there for consultations for this subject by appointment only as well as via prepayment of the session fee.

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