Today was Opening Day for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.  We rolled out our brand-new website at 8 a.m. today and began processing applications for Qualifying Patient and Designated Caregiver Registry Identification Cards. The system went live at 8:00 a.m. and we completed our first qualified patient card at about 8:30.  Our first applicant was a 60 year-old gentleman from Scottsdale living with Crohn’s Disease.

Our on-line application system is available 24/7/365, so that patients can apply anytime of the day or night on any day of the week.  We’re only accepting applications through our on-line system to minimize administrative costs.  The fact that we’re open for business 24/7/365 also means that we need to be prepared to scale up and process more applications in a hurry if necessary, which is why we trained an additional 20 ADHS staff this week so that they can step in during a pinch if we start getting a backlog.  We want to be ready to scale up in order to provide prompt customer service and because the Initiative requires that we process the cards quickly or we can’t collect the fee.

Applicants should have everything ready before they begin entering data on our on-line application website.  Folks will need to have already downloaded several things to their hard-drive before they begin entering data, including their completed: an electronic copy of their photo id; a current digital photograph; an electronic copy of their physician’s certification form; an electronic copy of their attestation;  and if applicable documentation of participation in the SNAP program (a.k.a. food stamps) if they want to qualify for the 50% discount.  Applicants will also need Visa or Mastercard for payment.

I’m incredibly proud of the agency-wide teamwork that went into developing this program.  It’s truly been an agency wide effort and many of you have put in long hard hours in order to make this a success.  Thank you!