Arizona Officials Begin to Plan for Medical Marijuana Laws, Avoiding the Same Fate as DC and NJ
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 09/08/2010 in Medical Marijuana Laws
This November, the state of Arizona will vote on whether to pass medical marijuana laws for chronically ill patients. But City Councilwoman Peggy Neely and Debra Stark of the City Manager’s Office are already working out how the laws will be implemented, and hope to have a plan to present to the Phoenix Planning Commission by the end of September or early October.
This pre-planning will avoid the same fate as patients in DC, where medical marijuana laws have been passed but have yet to be implemented. Patients are still waiting for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and the Department of Health set up the DC medical marijuana card program as well as the dispensaries from which patients are allowed to legally purchase marijuana.
The same is the case with New Jersey. Patients there are awaiting the establishment of a state run dispensary system. New Jersey medical marijuana laws forbid patients to grow their own medicine, but the state has not set up a legal means to purchase marijuana yet.
But Arizona’s proactive stance on the planning and implementing of the laws (which have yet to be passed) means that patients likely will NOT have to wait to legally access their medicine. If the bill passed, patients in AZ would be able to qualify for medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval, purchase the medicine from a registered marijuana dispensary, and grow their own cannabis if a registered marijuana clinic is not nearby. The law would also establish a medical marijuana card program with the Arizona Department of Health Services.
In her planning so far, Neely has met with activists and planning committee members, asked the city’s planning staff to review the issue and be prepared to evaluate steps the city should take if the measure passes, and discussed limitations for the number of clinics and zoning areas for clinics. Arizona officials are expected to review the medical marijuana laws that are already in place in other states. Hopefully this will mean that once the bill passes, patients in Arizona will have immediate access to the medicine they need.