Three cheers for our interdisciplinary team that’s been working hard on the latest round of Administrative Code to implement the new medical marijuana law that will take effect April 14.  We changed lots of provisions since the latest draft that we released on January 31.  Here are just a few highlights:

The new draft rules would boost the requirements for physicians who certify a patient for medical marijuana by requiring that they’ve:

  • Reviewed the last 12 months of the patient’s medical record;
  • Conducted a physical examination;
  • Diagnosed or confirmed the relevant diagnosis;
  • Established and maintain a medical record for the qualifying patient as required in A.R.S. 2297;
  • Examined the patient’s Profile on the Arizona Board of Pharmacy Controlled Substances Monitoring Program database;
  • Examined the patient’s response to conventional medications and medical therapies;
  • Explained the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana to the qualifying patient;
  • Committed to continue to assess the qualifying patient and the qualifying patient’s use of medical marijuana; and
  • Assumed responsibility for providing management and routine care of the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition.

The draft rules also provide for a geographic distribution of the dispensaries to provide easy access to dispensaries and limit the number of people who grow marijuana for themselves. The draft rules also outline how the Department will award dispensary certificates if there is more than one complete application for a specific Community Health Analysis Area.  The complete draft rules are available on the ADHS Website along with the electronic comment form and a schedule of public hearings.

We started our last public comment period this week which extends through February 18.  At that point, we’ll take a look at the new comments and put together a final rule package by March 28.  The actual turn key date for the law will be April 14.