Proposed Rules on Medical Marijuana Tougher Than Voter-Approved Law; Estimate of Potential Patients Lowered

Categories: Marijuana Biz
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Before the release of draft rules on Proposition 203, Will Humble, the director of the state Department of Health Services, estimated 100,000 people a year might qualify for medical marijuana.

Now, under the proposed regulations, only 10,000 to 20,000 people a year would qualify, he said in a news conference today.

The health department wants to lock out recreational users of marijuana from the coming state system, Humble explained. As mentioned in our previous blog post today, the new rules define what constitutes a doctor-patient relationship more strictly than the law itself.

The proposed rules also aim for "strong inventory controls," forcing dispensaries to grow 70 percent of their product themselves, while just 30 percent can come from legal growing operations run by other dispensaries.

Officials made it clear these proposals were a starting point for discussion, not the final word on regulations. Public hearings and the writing of another draft document will occur before rules are solidified by early April.

Our prediction: Many of these proposed rules won't stand because they restrict the newly approved voter initiative in a way that should be protected by the 1998 Voter Protection Act. It seems to us that the only way the state should be able to tweak the law this severely is by having the State Legislature find the 3/4 majority vote to do so, as the Act requires.

Still, the law did give the DHS the ability to write reasonable regulations. It's too early to tell what will happen -- and that's where you come in. The state wants to hear from you, so be sure to let your voice be heard during the rule-making process whether you want less -- or more -- restrictions on the program.

Humble showed clearly how the process was in flux when one reporter asked if the state would restrict someone from setting up a private business in which qualified patients could legally smoke marijuana.

"Tom," he said to the DHS' rules division manager, Tom Salow, "make sure that doesn't happen."

Humble and other speakers at today's news conference said they didn't obtain any input from would-be dispensary owners, marijuana activists, private doctors or anyone else.

That's a problem, because these people come off like a gaggle of Church Ladies.

At one point in the news conference, Humble took a detour to mention the dangers of prescription drugs, saying that more than 1,000 people died last year in Arizona from overdoses. He was responding to a question about why the state was making it tougher to obtain a recommendation for marijuana from their doctor than it is to obtain a prescription for pain pills.

When we asked Humble to remind the audience how many people died from overdosing on marijuana, he hemmed and hawed. Laura Nelson, chief medical officer for DHS, said she'd "have to do the research on that," and that "marijuana is not as lethal" as some prescription drugs. She also claims that pot is dangerous due to "car accidents."

It's just more Reefer Madness-type propaganda. Marijuana overdoses simply don't happen. And state crash data shows that alcohol-impairment-related crashes occur at a rate 10 times that of crashes in which the driver was impaired by all other illegal drugs combined. The state Department of Transportation can't break down that category of "all other illegal drugs" further, but it's obvious that marijuana-impairment cases are just a fraction of that one-tenth figure.

The voters approved Proposition 203, and now the state wants to smother the new law with over-bearing rules. No question -- there'll be some push-back on these proposed rules.


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Sativa420
Sativa420

Tweaking the laws voted in and making it impossible to get approved for a card is only going to ensure the black market sticks around. Also, I wouldn't trust a medical dispensary operated by the first Joe Shmoe with a couple of grand in his pocket any more than I would trust a car mechanic to diagnose my illness. As far as the doctor-patient relationship goes, if you cant be honest with your doc because you don't trust where your information is going, how is he suppose to help you? Its counterproductive in every aspect.

PCPSC, LLC
PCPSC, LLC

It would take someone ingesting about 1400 pounds of marijuana in about a 30 minute time frame to even overdose. This act within itself is physically imposable since you can't fit 1400 pounds of marijuana in a human stomach in 30 minutes. Therefore it is impossible.

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PCPSC, LLC
PCPSC, LLC

Prescott Cannabis Patient Screening Center, LLC

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Polly Patient
Polly Patient

Look to Colorado for your New World Order of medical marijuana. The state is setting up a database to be shared by all law enforcement, employment division, and probably many others. Patients here are already talking about a boycott of medical marijuana centers. If I were in AZ, there is no way that I would sign up for the patient registry until the confidentiality could be guaranteed. Once you get into the law enforcement database, there is no way out.

See this video for AZ's future. They want to track the mj from seed to sale, and have a plan to do it. Fuck HIPPA and patient rights:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Ceo Azcs
Ceo Azcs

As a patient and a potential dispensary owner I would like to respond: who cares?! Who cares if LEO's can verify I have the RIGHT to be in possession of marijuana? And since it is un taxed the dept. of revenue will have little or nothing to do with the industry at all.

bobby
bobby

Why did god put marijuana on this earth? For the people to smoke the hell out of it =)

botanybay
botanybay

It's really, really humorous to watch potheads trying to debate in legalese.

Peatsake3456
Peatsake3456

Don't worry, you and everyone else in AZ will get a chance to put in your '2 cents' worth, in tax dolllars, when the state has to answer these potheads' lawsuits.

These rules are a clear violation of HIPPA laws and will not stand...... And re-defining the 'physician patient relaltionship' sets a dangerous precedent for the medical community, and patients alike.

Get out your wallet Mr. Taxpayer.

PLEASE POST YOUR COMMENTS WITH 'THE STATE'......http://azdhs.gov/prop203/

Albert
Albert

First of all I’m not a pothead, nor do I smoke. People here are venting about the ADHS attempt to change, and make rules that they don’t have to right to make. Try reading Chapter 36-136, the department can’t adopt rules that are in conflict with the law. I do think its funny because we have no way of knowing what other people are complaining about. It really should be set up like a forum. That way people can post, and group their concerns and voices in one particular area. This idea of just sending in a concern is just strange. It reminds me of sending a letter to Santa, and I’m sure he got all my letters.I’ve talked about the department stating off with changing the days into workdays. They can’t do it. ADHS has 120 days to get this whole process up and running. And if you count all days, they have till March 25, 2011 to get it done. But everyone else has been saying April 1, 2011, and I even heard that it might be April 13, 2011. I’m sorry the law doesn’t say work days, business days, and does not exclude holidays. Just 120 days from certification. The government still operates on the weekends. I’m not really sure what Mr. Humble is thinking? But I’ve floated a few of my ideas of what they may be trying to do. First the ADHS thought they were going to have about 100,000 people signing up for a card. Well, if you think about it how can you reduce the amount of qualified people with permissible conditions from getting a card? You make some ridiculous rule that makes it impossible to get a card. Some doctors will not sign a patient’s Prop 203 Certification, and they have that right. So now these sick people have to find a new doctor and wait one year, and that will support their use of MMJ, and take over as primary care for the qualifying condition. This is another number of issues all by itself. So now, initially they only have about 10,000 people to worry about. Humble already said the department had two goals: make the rules strict enough to prohibit people who don’t have serious medical conditions from abusing the system without impeding patients access to marijuana, and ensure the medical experts are deeply involved in the patients obtaining and using marijuana. By coming up with rule 16 sec sub sec. A, B he is impeding into patients rights to access to Prop. 203 language. And besides you cant make a rule that everyone can only have one doctor for a health condition. That restricts access, and limits the availability, and training of the number of specially trained doctors for patients. Prop. 203 only doctor requirement is that the doctor is medically licensed doctor, and not a chiropractor, or a veterinarian, or even a physician assistant. And also, that they agree that the use of MMJ would benefit the patient. I have a problem with all of this. So even though he may not have the express rights to do this, people are going to have to file claims against the ADHS/State.. Which according to the Arizona Republic’s 2011 estimate for the budget shortfall will about 1.9 Billion dollars. Mr. Humble would be foolish enough to add these rules into the final draft. I’m done for now!!!

Linda
Linda

Will Humble needs to read the beginning of the Act itself. It begins with "...the People of the State of Arizona find and declare the following: A. Marijuana's recorded use as a medicine goes back nearly 5,000 years, and modern medical research has confirmed beneficial uses for marijuana in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions...(B) Studies...have continued to show the therapeutic value of marijuana in treating a wide array of debilitating medical conditions...(G) ...Hence, the purpose of this act is to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions...The drafters of the Act did a good job of setting out the intent of the statute. ADHS's job is to draft rules in furtherance of those specific intentions, not to throw up roadblocks. Remember that Will Humble on behalf of the Department was opposed to the legislation.I agree that ADHS should have made their comment sections public so that everyone can see the other comments.No one has mentioned that the rules require a 2 year residency requirement for officers and board members of the dispensary. While I applaud the attempt at keeping out the Colorado & California folks I can't imagine that this restriction will pass judicial scrutiny. I think ADHS could probably get away with a restriction that at the time of the application the officers or board members are Arizona residents. It wouldn't surprise me to have that rule litigated.The Rules try to change the definition of "enclosed, locked facility". In the Act, 36-2801 it is defined as "A CLOSET, ROOM, GREENHOUSE OR OTHER ENCLOSED AREA EQUIPPED WITH LOCKS OR OTHER SECURITY DEVICES THAT PERMIT ACCESS ONLY BY A CARDHOLDER." ADHS adds " four solid 12 foot walls" among other rules.Another rule ADHS has proposed is one having to do with inspections. The Act itself says that dispensaries are subject to reasonable inspection after REASONABLE notice by the department. The ADHS rules say that if they have received an allegation of a dispensary's non-compliance they may conduct an unanounced inspection (Rule 9-17-306)Another issue that no one has commented about yet is rule 9-17-307 titled 'Administration'. It requires each principal officer, board member and the medical director to become a licensed dispensary agent.

Albert
Albert

Mr. Humble would be foolish enough to add these rules into the final draft. I’m done for now!!! AHHH I hate not being able to edit... What I was trying to say was..... It would be foolish for Mr. Humble to add these rules in the final draft, and waste taxpayer money the state doesn't have. By adding something thats conflicts with the law.

Tr7fan
Tr7fan

pot wouldnt do anything for me the meds i take are stronger than it is

Coz
Coz

I'm currently in Paramedic school and have completed the chapters on HIPAA, Patient Privacy.

Patients are protected by HIPAA in all ways possible. It is illegal to give a patients name or condition to anyone without the patients written permission or court order. Even then it cannot be made to the public in general, only to a specified person.

Doctor - Patient relationships are as trusted as it gets. A person would have to give this right up to the State in order to be qualified for the prescription according to their proposed rules.

Big concern here is what happens to this patient information and who has access to it and why after the fact.

It will be interesting to see how DHS skirts the HIPAA laws and how many patient confidentiality laws they end up violating that result in civil suits against the State..

>>And Coz, I agree about the possible HIPPA violation

botanybay
botanybay

"A person would have to give this right up to the State in order to be qualified for the prescription according to their proposed rules."

Much like they must give up that right to the pharmacist when they go get the prescribed drugs? Much like they must give up that right to the physical therapist who treats their knee? Having your medical information on-file with the state dept of health would not be a violation, as they are also legally bound by HIPAA regulations, just as the pharmacist and physical therapist are.

Remind me not to get sick when you're driving for Southwest, ok?

J Curwen
J Curwen

Sorry, but the state isn't directly involved with a patient's treatment. HIPAA makes allowances for persons involved in the provision of medical care. It makes no such provision for government bureaucrats, with the exception of LEOs with warrant in hand.

Meen Lin
Meen Lin

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Docbob498th
Docbob498th

We all know that those "Representatives of the people" the RepubliCONS, will find a way to slime their way out of this prop. just as they have done in the past. If I could find a way to give them my MS, I would, and then treat them the same way.

Charles Ward
Charles Ward

Like Hell he didn't consult with anybody. He consulted with his fellow Republicans, and probably Pearce, Arpaio and the rest of the filthy narcs, too.

Albert
Albert

The thing is that this is their initial “draft” rules. They can put what ever they want, or at least what they think they can have. They have to have the public respond and the only way they are taking any kind of ideas, is through the Internet. Which is kind of lame, and there should be more public meetings scheduled, but they want to hide behind their computer screens. Now if a person or number of people bring up a valid point on why something should be added or deleted. The department really can’t ignore the voters request, especially if it is something that interferes, restricts, or even adds something that is not allowed under the statue. So now we have to wait see if Mr., Humble wants to waste taxpayer money on something he can’t win. And possibly have a personal claim filed just against him for restricting patient access.

And Coz, I agree about the possible HIPPA violation, but the law had something written on sec. 18 sub sec. A- which says the doctor was supposed to specify the patients debilitating medical conditions in the written certification. Which is a huge violation of medical privacy, and HIPPA. The only thing the health department is entitled to is communicable diseases, and I’m not even sure health depart receives the actual name of the “infected” patient. It’s something that can be just left out, unless again the health department thinks they can just violate people medical privacy?? But if they decide that people would have to put the sensitive health information in the certification, it would take a medical privacy suit against the department to resolve the medical privacy issue. The whole thing is that you go to a DOCTOR and let them decide if someone has a qualifying health condition.

And DM.. The 25-mile rule was setup just for the dispensaries benefit. Andrew Meyers was at some function in New Mexico where he said he wanted to give the dispensaries a viable market. Basically, force people to go to the dispensary. He also said in the same meeting that 95% of patients would rather go to a dispensary, and buy from them. I personally don’t agree that anyone one should be forced to buy from a profitable dispensary. People should have the option to grow their own medicine even if they live next door to a dispensary. And yes it could fall under equal protection. I was trying to think of any statue that gives someone different rights, and I couldn’t think of any. The law says non-profit, but everyone knows that the price for the MMJ is going to be huge. Why didn’t Mr. Humble put that into his rules?? The thing is with all the zoning issues with the cities, it make the dispensaries have to pay for 2 or more locations. Which means more expenses. Prop. 203 allows the dispensary to add the cost of everything and I mean EVERYTHING into a deduction, which in the end will come out in the price of medicine. I have a link to NORML’s stink that has the information about the 25-mile rule, and the dispensary stuff.

http://stash.norml.org/mpps-an...

Ceo Azcs
Ceo Azcs

"The law says non-profit, but everyone knows that the price for the MMJ is going to be huge. Why didn’t Mr. Humble put that into his rules?? The thing is with all the zoning issues with the cities, it make the dispensaries have to pay for 2 or more locations. Which means more expenses. Prop. 203 allows the dispensary to add the cost of everything and I mean EVERYTHING into a deduction, which in the end will come out in the price of medicine."

I can only speak for our organization in regards to this topic and we have addressed it publicly on our site, the DHS YouTube channel, Will Humble's Blog, etc.

The cost of producing medical marijuana needs to be accurately portrayed at the register. We have contacted AZDHS in hopes to help educate them on this specific topic and have had moderate success. One of our many goals was to offer medication at a cheap enough price that the black market for medical grade marijuana in Arizona would slowly dissolve. This has not gone over well with some groups however the public response has been outstanding. Most people are happy to see that our most expensive medications "connoisseur" strains will not be priced over $15/gram. Standard medication between $10-15/gram, mid grade medication priced between $5-10/gram and low grade medication if even carried will be given away through our various programs.

These costs will fluctuate within the first two years as dispensary owners "even out" their business investments but they should be standard within the second year of operation.

eeniemeenie
eeniemeenie

It also states that a dispensary has to have a pharmacist on duty. $$$ It states an ongoing relationship with a doctor for at least 1 year however if you are seeing a specialists for let's see Cancer and he starts chemotherapy immediately, you are SOL if you haven't been seeing him for a year.

J Curwen
J Curwen

They're not ALL SOL. Remember, there is a thriving black market in cannabis. Plenty of people will be willing to help others out, and likely at costs below what will be offered through dispensaries. For people who are really sick, a potential conviction may well mean nothing. Still, that proposed regulation does suck a big one.

Stay tuned for law suits.

x1134x
x1134x

You're absolutely right, what do we keep telling the prohibitionist? Its not like any of us who want to get it have any difficulty right now. This is arizona for christ's sake! Those of us with common sense would like to see the majority of the millions of dollars spent on cannabis being brought under a legal purview instead of enriching cartels, however it seems this will be only a way for a few vertically integrated MMJ companies to rip of the elderly, very sick, and those who only socialize in church cirles. They'll be selling them medicine that costs twice what it costs on the black market, this proposition could actually do society some good if it cut the costs in half. I commented to DHHS that they need to draft usury laws to ensure they don't mark it up 1000% like the black market does, and make sure that their janitor is making janitor wages, and the clerk is making clerk wages, not a circle of friends all taking 100k a year as "board members"

Hock
Hock

Ugh. Why does the state care if people get MJ for recreation, so long as it through a prescription. Hold the doctor's accountable.

What would happen now if a doctor gave scripts for unneeded Oxy? Do the same thing if the doc writes a prescription for medically unneeded MJ.

Phx1952
Phx1952

I asked my Doctor if he was signing up to treat marijuana patents and he said he could not risk his medical license by getting into this controversial law.I have been with this doctor for 18 years and I suffer from Hepatitis C and Glaucoma and other medical problems. No way will I be able to find a doctor that could be as experienced with my medical condition as he is. How will I be able to find this doctor they say I need to have? What if I do find a doctor and they are not in my insurance plan? Three vists and I have to pay it all out of my pocket? That can not happen.How can Humble change the law we Arizonians voted on?

x1134x
x1134x

They missed the home grow licensing all together in their "draft rules" They need to draft them in anticipation of the fact that a court will rule the 25 mile "no grow zone" a gross violation of equal protection under the law. Those who live 25 miles away from a dispensary are not "more equal" and deserving of the ability to produce medicine for 25 cents a dose while others who simply live in a different place are required to be extorted to pay 10 dollars a dose.

Coz
Coz

Might be wise for DHS to brush up on HIPAA Laws before Arizona starts getting sued left and right for patient privacy laws. You would think they would know that......being the autority and all for what's best for everyone medically.

What a joke they are.

Imanoid2
Imanoid2

The NAZIs are up to their old tricks. I pray that scum like Humble and Pearce and all the other NEO-right wing MIERDA die a long, painful death due to a cancer, or other insidious disease. That they will not gain any comfort from their BIG PHARMA drugs. It is almost time for the REVOLUTION!! It is our right, remember!

Albert
Albert

At one point in the news conference, Humble took a detour to mention the dangers of prescription drugs, saying that more than 1,000 people died last year in Arizona from overdoses. He was responding to a question about why the state was making it tougher to obtain a recommendation for marijuana from their doctor than it is to obtain a prescription for pain pills.

When we asked Humble to remind the audience how many people died from overdosing on marijuana, he hemmed and hawed. Laura Nelson, chief medical officer for DHS, said she'd "have to do the research on that," and that "marijuana is not as lethal" as some prescription drugs. She also claims that pot is dangerous due to "car accidents."

I was wondering, I know Jan Brewer gave Mr. Humble his position when she became the interim Gov. But why couldn't he answer your question about attributed overdoses relating to marijuana. You mean to tell me he had the overdose facts of other medicines, but not marijuana? That’s right, because there are none. I’m curious as to what qualifies Mr. Humble to be the Director of ADHS. What is his medical background if any? And Laura Nelson the chief medical officer for DHS, what is her medical background. Car accidents happen all the time. And in the last few years the NTSB has already said that marijuana is not as dangerous and related to causing major accidents as previously thought. I know some companies call HR reps a medical review officer for drug testing when they don’t even have any kind medical license. I couldn’t find any profile information for both employees. Thanks

Imanoid2
Imanoid2

He is NOT a doctor. Not a nurse. Not a PA. NO. He has only degrees from schools that offer degrees in management and public health. One would think if he really wanted to help people he would have become a doctor, or a real medical person. But, no, he is a dictator who needs to suffer pain like the cancer patients he dismisses so easily. I am praying for his demise!!

Albert
Albert

I thought there would be more comments, but maybe people are waiting to see what others have to say. I had a chance to re-read through the actual law, and the proposed rules. Mr. Humble and staff have taken a huge liberty in increasing, and decreasing the law. It almost seems that stuff they didn’t like or agree with that they added more restrictions, or just added/invented items. I think they forgot we the people voted on Prop 203 the way it was written. Not to have it so restricted that some, or most people wont be able to benefit from the law, which goes against the whole intent of the law. I thought the first thing about required allotted days was interesting, that they had turned the time limits for them to approve applications, and certifications into working days from just days. I’m sorry but the statue says days, and not working, or business days. I’m sorry, but the ADHS does not get to rewrite, and nit pick something that they may not agree with. You must take the law the way it’s written. Days and not working/business days!The main issue I have with their proposed rules is the restricting access to the law by trying to define what a patient- doctor relationship is. This part conflicts with Prop 203, as far as any doctor who is licensed to practice medicine MD, DO has the right to recommend MMJ. And the law doesn’t say anything about having a relationship with your doctor for at least a year, and have had 4 visits. That same requirement doesn’t apply to any other health standard in the country. Or any that I could find by looking up requirements for prescriptions/recommendations. Again, Mr. Humble and staff are taking a huge liberty in defining what they think should apply to Prop 203, especially when it doesn’t apply to all other aspects of health care. Also, the part that the MMJ doctor has to become the primary care doctor for the qualifying condition. Most people’s doctors won’t be so willing to put their names, and required by rules their license number on a patients application. And who not agree with the new law. So your telling me that I can’t get relief from something that could help for at least a year? Talk about pain and suffering. The ADHS motto is: Leadership for a Healthy Arizona. Again not all doctors are qualified specialists who have completed some required fellowship training to take on ALL aspects of healthcare. As required by law in Chapter 17 Tile 32-1800 Sec 21.I did find the section on the video cameras amusing, and the location of the hand washing stations. I was thinking… isn’t that planning and zoning and who ever deals with building permits. And one issue I couldn’t understand was the part that says if you’re applying for a caregiver card, dispensary agent, and on behalf a child who is under 18 that they have to signed statement that says they do not currently hold a valid registry identification card, so these people can’t be patients as well??? This is just a way for the ADHS to take a more intrusive step into our states MMJ law. I’ve also seen a few statements from some people, and organizations saying that the ADHS did a good job. And that really completely blows my mind. Did they really read all 47 pages of the ADHS proposed rules? They have taken a law that was just over 30 pages and turned a set of proposed rules into 47 pages of things they want. In a state that has a billion dollar deficit, does the health department really think they should help waste more taxpayer money the state doesn’t have? I can already see claims being filed against the ADHS on all aspects of departments proposed rules. (I copied this from the other posting)

Charles Ward
Charles Ward

With insurance the way it is these days, how many people have lengthy physician- patient relationships these days?

Also, wasn't this guy complaining before the election about how expensive the system would be to run? I guess we can see why he said that now.

my2cents
my2cents

The provision for a dispensary having to grow 70% of it's own medicine also has to go. Growing organic mmj is only one bad mite or mold infestation away from having an entire crop wiped out, only to have to start all over again. And by the way even dispensary/cultivation owners will have to grow under 100 plants at any one time if they want to stay under FEDERAL mandatory minimum sentencing. Also good luck finding a Dr. willing to risk his license by signing on as a medical director to a entity that sells a Schedule 1 drug under federal law. This is a joke, DHS is trying to regulate prop 203 out of existence.

SmokePot
SmokePot

So the government jerk off begins

Coz
Coz

Lets see, the voters have spoken...Now the State Government starts their back peddling, miles of red tape, bureaucracy and total BS....

Should have known.

MAC
MAC

"A dispensary shall provide the Department with authorized remote access to the dispensary's electronic monitoring system."

"The capability of providing authorized remote viewing of live and recorded video with:(1) Internet connectivity of at least 384 kbps upstream; and(2) A static IP address to allow for remote connection..."

"A video camera at each point of sale location allowing for the identification of any qualifying patient or designated caregiver purchasing medical marijuana; A video camera in each grow room capable of identifying any activity occurring within the grow room in low light conditions"

Is this a joke? What are they smoking over at DHS?

This mammoth set of rules reads like a statist bureaucrat's Christmas wish list.

Ceo Azcs
Ceo Azcs

I would like to respond to this one. The above mentioned provisions should have been included in anyone's business plan that was serious about obtaining a dispensary permit. This software is easily obtainable and the hardware is offered by several companies. We have chosen a state of the art security company and hardware that currently does work for the San Diego Sheriff's office. Also there are many local companies that already have familiarity with integrating into the state systems.

This isn't even a concern for a real potential dispensary owner as security will have been their third thought.

J Curwen
J Curwen

But I thought Republicans were against burdensome regulations nad in favor of free markets?

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