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Arizona To Consider Expanding Medical Marijuana Program

Arizona To Consider Expanding Medical Marijuana Program

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 05/29/2012 in Medical Marijuana Laws

The State of Arizona is now taking into consideration it’s requests to expand it’s current fledging medical marijuana program to allow the use of marijuana for an array of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and migraines beyond the current conditions that are allowed under the voter-approved law that was set in place two years ago.

The Arizona Department of Health Services, is required under the 2010 law, to consider any requests to expand it’s coverage, and will hold a public hearing this Friday on the first batch of requests that have been taken in. Besides post-traumatic stress disorder and migraines, the requests for covered conditions include depression and general anxiety disorder as well. Arizona law currently permits medical marijuana use for such medical reasons and conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, chronic pain, muscle spasms and hepatitis C.

The deadline to submit all applications to operate marijuana dispensaries is this Friday for individuals seeking ownership of a potential business. Arizona will permit up to 126 medical marijuana dispensaries to be operated, but only one is allowed per designated area. Typically, those dispensaries are either within rural towns or parts of major metropolitan areas. Governor Jen Brewer further delayed the process of awarding those with licenses to operate dispensaries.

Currently, states’ programs vary drastically, and some already cover the additional medical conditions that are being considered by Arizona. New Mexico for example, allows medical marijuana use for post-traumatic stress disorder, while California’s covered more serious medical conditions. Meanwhile, Colorado’s already decade-old program has denied any petitions to add more than a dozen conditions, which includes post-traumatic stress disorder, hepatitis C and depression.

Under federal law, marijuana remains still illegal, but the Veterans Affairs Department in 2011, issued certain guidelines that permit patients treated at Virginia hospitals and clinics to use medicinal marijuana in states where it is permitted and legal. These guidelines do not allow Virginia physicians to recommend medical marijuana.

Arizona has awarded medical marijuana cards to more than 28,000 of its citizens, with a very scarce number of denied requests. Chronic pain has been the most common listed medical condition, though users can be listed for more than one. Most of the users were granted permission to grow marijuana until there is a designated dispensary within their area.

The consideration of the possible expansion of Arizona’s medical marijuana program follows those efforts made by the state to crack down on early abuses. Arizona state regulatory boards have already disciplined physicians who failed to adequately consider patient’s needs and conditions before recommending medical marijuana.

Arizona has already received about 200 dispensary applications through close-of-business Wednesday, and Humble said he expected many more before Friday’s deadline.

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