Medical Marijuana in Arizona: Rules Are Finally Here (Sort Of)
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 03/29/2011 in Medical Marijuana Laws
After a 4-month-long rule making process, Arizona’s state health department finally released its final version of medical marijuana rules. But how final are they? The department says if the rules don’t hold up, then they can still be revised.
Nevertheless, these rules are an important step in the implementation of the state’s medical marijuana laws, which are slated to start April 14, when the Department will finally begin accepting patient applications.
So why did it take so long? The state health department has reviewed thousands of electronic comments on the drafts of its rules, and held several public forums to let people give input on the rules. The ADHS says it’s to achieve the best law possible.
“It has been our mission since the initiative passed to make this the best medical marijuana program in the country,” said Will Humble, ADHS Director. “Our goal from the outset was to set the stage for a medical marijuana program, as opposed to a recreational one.”
What about access to cannabis? These sort-of-final set of rules determine how dispensaries will be chosen and distributed throughout the state—a key component in implementing the state’s medical cannabis laws that require most patients to obtain their medicine from these dispensaries. Arizona medical marijuana law Proposition 203 allows qualifying patients to receive up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from dispensaries, and can only cultivate their own cannabis if they live 25 miles or more from a dispensary. Eventually there will be between 120 and 126 medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Arizona, which is proportionate to the number of pharmacies in the state.
Dispensary applications are available now and will be accepted beginning June 1. The program should be fully functioning by the end of the year. Patients wanting to apply for the AZ mmj program can do so by filling out the necessary forms on the state health department’s website starting April 14. We’ll keep you posted on any new developments. In the meantime, check out the new rules at http://www.azdhs.gov/prop203.