As I was looking through a weekly publication in the Phoenix area I noticed that there are several physicians that are already advertising their services for medical marijuana evaluations and certifications for a fee. Some of the ads and websites seem to imply that the certifications that physicians are writing right now will be valid for getting an Qualified Patient identification card from the Arizona Department of Health Services once the law takes effect on April 14. This is not the case.
The Department is still in the process of finalizing the Administrative Code (Rules) for the entire program- including the physician certification requirements that will be required when applying for an Arizona Medical Marijuana Qualified Patient Card. While we haven’t completed the Rules, we’re certain that we’ll be requiring that applicants submit a written certification from a physician on a form developed by the ADHS that will include a series of physician attestations. Since this form does not yet exist, whatever forms patients are receiving from physicians right now will not meet our future requirements for getting an ADHS medical marijuana qualified patient identification card.
Our goal is to complete the Rulemaking by March 28. We also expect to publish the official required physician certification form on our website on March 28. The official start for the program will be April 14- and that’s the first day that we expect to be accepting applications for AZ Qualified Patient Medical Marijuana Cards. We will begin processing applications for cards on April 14; however the application will need to contain a physician certification on our final form that will be available March 28. If a patient has had a medical appointment prior to March 28 and received some kind of certification or sheet of paper- the patient will need to ask their physician to fill out and sign the official form in order to receive an AZ Medical Marijuana Qualified Patient Card.
It’s not appropriate for me to give advice regarding whether or not folks should or shouldn’t see physicians right now for consultations regarding whether or not they could benefit from medical marijuana- but I felt compelled to get information out there that the forms that are being filled-out and signed by physicians right now won’t meet our future requirements for receiving an AZ Medical Marijuana Qualified Patient Identification Card from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
I have a question: Will doctors offer some kind of follow-up to make sure that the patients don’t get addicted to the marijuana?
I know a lot of people that have become severely addicted from marijuana abuse, and I’m worried that the same might happen to people using it for medical purposes.
The law provides for annual evaluations, and this is one of the rationals for the medical director.
Myth: Marijuana is Highly Addictive. Long term marijuana users experience physical dependence and withdrawal, and often need professional drug treatment to break their marijuana habits.
Fact: Most people who smoke marijuana smoke it only occasionally. A small minority of Americans – less than 1 percent – smoke marijuana on a daily basis. An even smaller minority develop a dependence on marijuana. Some people who smoke marijuana heavily and frequently stop without difficulty. Others seek help from drug treatment professionals. Marijuana does not cause physical dependence. If people experience withdrawal symptoms at all, they are remarkably mild.
United States. Dept. of Health and Human Services. DASIS Report Series, Differences in Marijuana Admissions Based on Source of Referral. 2002. June 24 2005.
Johnson, L.D., et al. “National Survey Results on Drug Use from the Monitoring the Future Study, 1975-1994, Volume II: College Students and Young Adults.” Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996.
Kandel, D.B., et al. “Prevalence and demographic correlates of symptoms of dependence on cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and cocaine in the U.S. population.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence 44 (1997):11-29.
Stephens, R.S., et al. “Adult marijuana users seeking treatment.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 61 (1993): 1100-1104.
My concern is not the few doctors who are adveritsing. My concern is that there aren’t more. 4 or 5 doctors won’t be able to handle the number of patients needing exams. I’m scared there won’t be many doctors.
Excellent information for everyone! I sure hope that “I” am not the only person that agrees. Thank You
Well I don’t think anyone thinks that they will get the card right away. But certain people were told that the “Stop Arresting Patients” law also known as proposition 203 was actually signed into law by Jan Brewer in December. They are under the impression that this affords them some protection under state law to avoid incarceration for doing what was once illegal. Some of these people have used marijuana for years for their medical conditions and this law was meant to protect them. I am not a user but if I was in the same boat from a medical standpoint, this is the same course of action that I would take. It all seems pretty reasonable to me.
We are not lawyers, so we don’t know whether medical evaluations in the absence of an Arizona card provide legal protection.
Well it sure wouldn’t hurt and the sick and dying don’t want to spend their last days in jail. My heart goes out to them and I am very grateful that they have some sort of recourse even if it is just a chance. The word on the street and based on cases from other states is that some criminal trials have been thrown out based on these physician recommendations. Doctors have been recommending marijuana for much longer than the term “medical marijuana” was introduced. Providing a document for it will only help with their cause. The citizens of Arizona voted this into law so that we could stop arresting patients, not just for the dispensary owner and the recommending physicians.
I think that that we should that we think that I should. Really now, just legalize it and put it in stores in my lifetime and let me decide what I want to medicate myself with or not.
Please take into account the following when you are trying to “deal with the problem” of growing patients and caregivers outside of halos(aka monopolies of dispensaries). The ADHS’s attempts to locate dispensaries outside of population densities that will support them individually is an unscrupulous and direct attempt to undermine the will of the voters and will be addressed as such per our law passed in 1998!
There are Federal laws on the books that determine that anyone with a grow operation in excess of 99 plants is subject to a mandatory five year prison sentence minimum. The ADHS is directly forcing dispensaries operators to risk their very freedom in order to meet the demand of their clientele!
In fact the ONLY way the dispensaries operators can meet the demand without risking years of hard time in a Federal Prison with murderers and rapists; is to grow 99 plants in each of the two locations they are allocated, and rely on growing caregivers and patients that can provide them with medicine. You’re envisioning any excess medicine being directed to the black market, this is short sighted and errant. Even a Patient living outside a halo and operating as a caregiver for 5 patients that also reside outside your halo can only produce 72 plants which would be well under the Federal cap.
This respectable cottage industry will provide income to thousands of Arizonans that are presently losing their homes and struggling to keep their heads above water. By placing dispensaries in every shanty town in the state you only effectively create the monopolies for the very wealthy to benefit from this new industry. That fact will also be easy to support as nobody truly in the middle class has $12-15k to throw away at a 1 in 10-20 chance for a dispensary. The deck is currently stacked to effectively eliminate anyone who isn’t abundantly wealthy from participating.
I beg of you to stop being blinded of the fear of the unknown, and see the bigger picture! This is a multi-billion dollar industry coming to Arizona in the middle of the worst financial crisis in the last 90 years. Our state has been hit harder than nearly all others by this recession and you have the power at your fingertips to spread the wealth to those who genuinely need it most! There will be trade groups similar to unions that will provide organization, security, benefits, and discounts for all growers that are forwarding their excess medicine directly to dispensaries where you have oversight. You are in a position to do something brave and good here and now!
Your job here is to implement this law so it provides medicine for those who truly need it. Stop seeing yourself as dictators that can do whatever they like so long as they “think” they’re protecting us from ourselves. We need ADHS to see that not only the very wealthy benefit from this new industry and not throw us under the bus in a failing attempt to further villainize this plant!
One of our objectives is to provide easy access in rural Arizona.
Absolutely Very Well Written SHELBY!
2 thumbs up..
It appears to me everyone is looking to make a buck off of poor people in pain. The doctors will get their share of the loot. The state will tax it heavily. the dispensary owners, although they say they are non-profit will pay their owners hefty salaries.
Meanwhile the poor patients living of social security disability will be paying the bills.
Well i think it will make people that cant aford the prices for med maryjane will prob grow thier oun, and the street pot has very little thc and other componets that help so if your going to get any relief is to buy the good stuff and if the prices are like Cal then alot of the sick wont be able to aford it, so i believe for once they should have some kind of help from the state thier going to make Big bucks or the feds will one anyway.Good luck to those who would rather smoke then pop them liver ,kidney eating pills.I’mm smokin
Diana, You are absolutely right. Patients are being overlooked by all parties involved. One of the most remarkable things about cannabis is that it can be easily and safely produced by the patient in their home or greenhouse, but that fact is seen as something bad, rather than a blessing, all too often. The 25-mile “halo” that prevents cultivation if one lives in close proximity to a dispensary never made much sense, but was written into the Proposition that voters passed. But the “canvassing” of the state with dispensaries specifically to prevent patients from growing their own medicine at home for pennies per dose adds injury to insult.
Shelby Scalf we need more people like you put into positions of power or executive decision making for our country to get on track with being a great country. Sensible and practical do not seem to be terms used in our current decision makers vocabulary. Lets get on with ” for the people by the people”. Thank you for your post it gives me hope that we can have a better future for all. Thank You, Sherri Stotler
Thank you for the heads up Mr Humble! I have glaucoma and was looking online for an appt just today. Very glad your blog post came up so I could see I need to wait until March 28th and use the AZDOH form :0)
Thanks for looking out for us ans we navigate the new process!
My two cents…..
1. I believe the reason the dispensaries are to be scattered into Cha’s is to prevent individual growers by having dispensaries within 25 miles of anywhere in the state. But, the rural Cha’s will fail due to lack of customers.
2. The reason for the multiple doctor visits is greed. It will get every penny off of poor people. Also there is marijuana paranoia by health dept. officials.
3. Doctors will be restricted and regulated so they won’t even want to deal with MJ patients because of the hassles. This will result in a shortage of MJ doctors. This will result in poor people not being able to see a doctor and get their medical MJ.
4. The reason for the high costs is to drive up the cost of the medical MJ so no one can afford it–except for the rich.
5. The reason for the dispensary overregulation is also to drive up the costs so poor people can’t buy medical MJ.
6. The police need to justify having so many cops so it is in their best interest to overregulate medical MJ.
We have removed the multiple doctor visit requirement, also that rural dispensaries can still have larger cultivation facilities and transfer inventory to higher volume dispensaries.
The price of medical marijuana must be the same as the street price or the dispensaries will be wholesaling high-quality marijuana to thes street.
The Department does not anticipate regulating the price of marijuana sold at nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries.
I have yet to receive an answer as to why post traumatic stress disorder and other conditions had yet to be added to the draft? (See previous blog under mike) You have said yourself that the law would be refined through public output yet we have had to keep our fingers crossed for help up to the last minute. The drafts have yet to include our input regarding conditions, how can we believe you now? I’m begining to think that outspoken minority that says this law isn’t being implemented properly is actually the voice of those who need help.
First, thank you very much for your service.
Second-The initiative not the rule identified the initial qualifying conditions. The final rule will lay out the process for adding qualifying conditions. We can’t by law add it by ourself- we need to follow the application process as identified in the initiative passed by the voters.
36-2801.01. Addition of debilitating medical conditions.
THE PUBLIC MAY PETITION THE DEPARTMENT TO ADD DEBILITATING MEDICAL CONDITIONS OR TREATMENTS TO THE LIST OF DEBILITATING MEDICAL CONDITIONS SET FORTH IN SECTION 36-2801, PARAGRAPH -3-. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL CONSIDER PETITIONS IN THE MANNER REQUIRED BY DEPARTMENT RULE, INCLUDING PUBLIC NOTICE AND HEARING. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL APPROVE OR DENY A PETITION WITHIN ONE-HUNDRED-EIGHTY DAYS OF ITS SUBMISSION. THE APPROVAL OR DENIAL OF A PETITION IS A FINAL DECISION OF THE DEPARTMENT SUBJECT TO JUDICIAL REVIEW PURSUANT TO TITLE 12, CHAPTER 7, ARTICLE 6. JURISDICTION AND VENUE ARE VESTED IN THE SUPERIOR COURT.
“DEBILITATING MEDICAL CONDITION” MEANS ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:
(a) CANCER, GLAUCOMA, POSITIVE STATUS FOR HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS, ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME, HEPATITIS C, AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS, CROHN’S DISEASE, AGITATION OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE OR THE TREATMENT OF THESE CONDITIONS.
(b) A CHRONIC OR DEBILITATING DISEASE OR MEDICAL CONDITION OR ITS TREATMENT THAT PRODUCES ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING: CACHEXIA OR WASTING SYNDROME; SEVERE AND CHRONIC PAIN; SEVERE NAUSEA; SEIZURES, INCLUDING THOSE CHARACTERISTIC OF EPILEPSY; OR SEVERE AND PERSISTENT MUSCLE SPASMS, INCLUDING THOSE CHARACTERISTIC OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS.
(c) ANY OTHER MEDICAL CONDITION OR ITS TREATMENT ADDED BY THE DEPARTMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 36-2801.01.
One quick question: Are dispensaries required to operate a storefront or will there be “cultivation only” dispensaries that don’t have their own storefront that can sell their medical marijuana to other dispensaries with storefronts?
I ask this because some local towns/cities have enacted zoning restrictions that limit the amount of space in which you can cultivate. “Cultivation only” dispensaries would help to keep supply of the storefronts in line with demand from patients.
This will be clarified in the final rules.
will rheumatoid arthritis qualify to get the card
Please see my response to Mike, above. It MAY fall under” (b) A CHRONIC OR DEBILITATING DISEASE OR MEDICAL CONDITION OR ITS TREATMENT THAT PRODUCES ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING: CACHEXIA OR WASTING SYNDROME; SEVERE AND CHRONIC PAIN; SEVERE NAUSEA; SEIZURES, INCLUDING THOSE CHARACTERISTIC OF EPILEPSY; OR SEVERE AND PERSISTENT MUSCLE SPASMS, INCLUDING THOSE CHARACTERISTIC OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS,”
I’m not surprised to see physicians that are already advertising their services for medical marijuana evaluations and certifications. Everyone is chasing dollars.
Thank you Shelby,
Rural access is smoke and mirrors and won’t stand up in court! Wait until all the multi-millionaire dispensary owners find out about the class action lawsuit against DHS for forcing them to violate federal mandatory prison sentencing! Nobody likes to sue like the rich! That should wipe out about 100 million from the ill gotten goods you took to make sure only the very wealthy could obtain dispensary licenses. Two wrongs Will, never…
MR HUMBLE..PLEASE STOP DANCING AROUND THE ISSUES YOU HAVE BEEN ASKED TO CONFRONT!!!!!
IS THIS A MONOPOLY THAT YOU ARE INVOLVED IN???:
Even heavy chronic users of marijuana do not have a biochemical physical withdrawal. There might be a few people who smoke pot that think they need it from a psychological perspective, but in terms of a biochemical physical addiction, (with real biochemical and serious withdrawals) it is impossible. You should be worried about the seriously severe opioid addictions your friends and or people you know would have if they were on opioids (I am talking about medical prescribed pain opioid pain medication) instead of marijuana. Opioids for pain not only are the real deal addictive, unlike marijuana, they are also easy to overdose on and can kill. Do yourself and everyone else who believes the fear mongering propaganda your pushing a favor, read up on the truth about marijuana. You might even smoke some yourself and take a close look at your real intentions.
Dispensaries growing 100 plants or more will be raided here in Arizona! We have many more conservative loons here looking to trample citizens rights than they do in Montana!
Shelby makes a very valid point. Without the help of growing patients and caregivers dispensaries and the patients they serve will be caught in the middle of an ongoing battle! I believe every patient and caregiver will be able to sue DHS for steamrolling them also! Every single patient could have medicine delivered to them for less than a dispensary charges or free from caregivers, but they are being denied that because our DHS is choosing to attack patients and caregivers that should be allowed to grow in accordance with the law!
That will be 200,000+ Arizonan’s that can all join a class action lawsuit! Maybe after our DHS forces our already bankrupt state further into the red with this nonsense they will finally see the big picture, and stop looking to make enemies out of growing patients! Didn’t we see enough rhetoric and lies from the cold war on cannabis throughout the election process?!
Every single patient that buys medicine at a dispensary can redirect it to a recreational user if they choose to, there is NO valid argument that someone who grows it is any more likely to commit that crime! That is discrimination!
The initiative itself states that if a person lives less than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary, they aren’t authorized to grow. The rule can’t change this since it’s in the law. We are however trying to provide incentives for dispesaries to set up throughout the state to ensure easier access.
The 25 mile rule is going to be challenged and ultimately thrown out of once a court rules that you can’t stop people from growing their own medicine. The only reason the 25 mile rule was put into place so the well financed syndicates could have a market for their overpriced product. At first the price was going to be $250 an ounce and now their greed is unbounded and they are going to charge $400-450 an ounce.
Why does the town of Globe already have a dispensary owner in place and one of the town coucilman is going to be the manager? This is a huge scheme and ADHS is helping to make lots of rich people even richer.
Can’t wait for the final rules and really they are written since people are talking about them so why don’t you just release them so we can see them.
I can’t speak to why the 25 mile provision was included in the law because I wasn’t involved in it’s development.
We aren’t even accepting applications yet, this may be a zoning issue you are describing.
Our final rules still aren’t finished and we expect to be able to post them next Monday.
The 25 mile rule has got to be completely abolished.
Anybody who qualifies for medical marijuana should most certainly be able to grow their own medicine. We all know what this is about and it has to be changed.
Here is the reason for the 25-mile rule “to give a market to the dispensaries in the community so they’d be viable” This was said by the spokesman for MMP the crafters of prop 203. By definition this is extortion. Proposition 203 has many flaws the crafters wrote it like a business plan, I expected DHS would correct these problems instead they exploited them. In the latest draft DHS did change the 25-mile rule by defining it.
“H. For purposes of this Article, “25 miles” includes the area contained within a circle that extends for 25 miles in all directions from a specific location.”
This gives 25-mile rule max. distance,hundreds of miles by road for some.
The most complaints by the patients have been the 25-mile rule and to be able to afford dispensary prices. DHS says”The Department does not anticipate regulating the price of marijuana sold at nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries.” Why not DHS?
I was approved and was notified around the middle of March. I did not make an appt. at that time because I wanted more info. I called yesterday to make an appt. and was asked if I was on medicare or medicaid I said yes I’m disabled and was told that I had to pay cash only that a check or credit card would not be excepted.
When will the cost be posted? I will not make an appointment until the cost of the drug is made available to the patients. This throws up red flags. If the cost are prohibitive for the drug, paying a doctor for a prescription card is superfluous.
Dispensaries will establish the price, we have nothing to do with that.