Medical Marijuana Commenters Part Two; Live-Blogging Continues at Prop 203 Hearing in Tempe
Commenters stood in a long line to air their views at today's three-hour medical marijuana hearing in Tempe. Not all of them had a chance to speak.
This is Part Two of our live-blogging from the Department of Health Services medical marijuana hearing in Tempe. Click here for Part One.
This is sort of like posting raw video -- if you see something useful or interesting here, great.
Without further ado, on to the comments:
Dr. Robert May:
It appears DHS has decided to treat medical marijuana (like street pot.)
In your rules, there's a definite unwritten but still obvious stigma (placed on dispensary owners, growers and patients.)
You're protecting yourselves. You're making it hard on everybody. Medical marijuana in Arizona, if given the same attention to detail as other drugs, will be welcome addition to physicians in Arizona.
It will provide the state through licensing and fees with a new source of revenue, if it's not over-taxed.
It should make a noticeable difference on the amount of illicit marijuana coming across the border from Mexico.
Want to address three points in the rules. The first requires the hiring of a medical director. (He notes that pharmacies don't have to do that.) And yet the same pharmacies dispense (far more deadly drugs than marijuana.)
Since marijuana cannot be consumed on the premises of a dispensary, there's no immediate need for a medical director to be the premises.
The attending physician has always been and must always be the responsible party for the health of their patients.
The consultation between the dispensary and the attending physician ... will be carried out by a telephone. It doesn't require a doctor being there in the dispensary.
Maria Silva, (in Colorado), received the wrong prescription from a Safeway pharmacy. She was given an abortion pill. It was on the news.
I did some research on this. Deaths from prescription drugs is the fourth leading cause of deaths in this country. That's from the FDA's stats.
On WebMD ... they found 5,366 improper medication reports to police.
I don't know of any deaths from marijuana, and I've been in the field for 40-plus years.
I heard there was one death, but I don't know how it occurred unless he was smothered by bales and bales of marijuana. (Laughter from audience.)
The DHS makes no provisions for supplying a dispensary. (Dispensaries should have an 18-month window to get marijuana supplies from California.)
We can't (go into business on May 1). Unless we violate the law by growing marijuana right now, it's impossible.
Jeff Smith -- says he's not dangerous despite the hair style. (He sports a mohawk.)
It's all about supply and demand. Obviously, there is a demand in this state for medical marijuana.
Why are we allowing dispensaries to supply their own marijuana. (The pot that's already out there should be bought in a central buyer's market.)
And maintain a price that people are willing to pay.
From 1983 to 1999, this was legal in the state of Arizona. The Department of Revenue issued (tax stamps). Nobody had a problem for 16 years, until too many people found out they could start buying and selling marijuana.
I don't know what my point is here. I'm trying to say please have patience with what's going on. This is interesting for me to see, I'm 45 years old. Since I was in diapers...
("Draft rules!" somebody calls.)
I've used and sold marijuana to doctors, laywers, anybody that wanted it.
Kimberly Hazzit, representing Southwest Patience Alliance:
I would like to offer a really easy solution for you.
I'm asking you to simply follow the law. Treat it like a medicine. We're not drug dealers.
Where it says minimum, that's what I'm asking you to do. Minimum oversight.
The more difficult you make this, the happier the attorneys of the state of Arizona are going to be.
Take a yellow highlighter and keep two things in mind: Medicine, minimal.
I'm representing myself as a disabled person that doens't have any money.
Take the draft rules and take everything out that is not Constitutional and my right.
(Talks about PTSD and how people can apply to add it in as a qualifying ailment).
I would like the department to expedite this process for PTSD.
Our veterans deserve their medicine without having to go the street to get it.
I do like how you raised the residency requirement from two years to three years.
The lottery system, mmm, gosh, I'm kind of torn.
We want the people running the dispensaries to be of the highest caliber.
I would like to open an infusion facility and make edibles.
I'm someone who would qualify to be a patients. My (doctor) says out of fear he will not be giving any patients prescriptions because he thinks the law would come back on him.
I have never partaken of marijuana personally in my life.
Smoking would not be an option for me.
I'd probably be the one fatality because I would not know what I was doing.
I'm a really good baker. I make really yummy products. And I'd like to help people by enjoying something tasty that also helps them, as well.
How do I contract with a dispensary if I can't show them my product, if I don't know who these dispensaries are going to be? I would need to contract with many dispensaries.
Usually, as in the case when you make edibles and you infuse things. You're using the dispensaries' waste products. (Leaves, parts of buds, etc.)
The rules say the waste should be disposed of properly, but don't say what it means. That needs to be clarified.
(If I turn waste products into cookies and yummy products, does she need separate inventory control on all that? She wants clarity on that.)
Paul Schroeder, Gilbert resident:
I'm a potential dispensary operator in Gilbert. Although I do care very deeply for the patients as well. It's not all about the business interests.
(Has comment on the CHAA zones. Seems to say that Gilbert needs to be allowed more dispensary licenses.)
By default, if you do not receive a qualified application for a CHAA ... that it goes by default to the next CHAA over. (He thinks that would give Gilbert an extra one.)
Patients get some competition. That competition will lead to a higher quality medicine.
Larry Cook, a disabled veteran:
(Wants to talk about cultivation sites. Should have rural areas be cultivation for urban spots.)
Law enforcement, code enforcement and other processes would be cut in half for that city (which contracts for a rural cultivation area.)
Dr. Joel Colly, been in practice for 30 years:
(Wants to open a dispensary.)
I'm a pain control specialist and an anesthesiologist.
All the good work your committe has done will be negated if you continue with a lottery process.
(Points out an Arizona Republic article that has an ad for a company that offers about $160,000 a year if you are the front person for a dispensary.)
The lottery, the final process will completely undo what you've tried to do. (It'll encourage dirty money to taint the process.)
Like it or not, you cannot start a business without capital.
You just can't come in off the street and start a business and expect it to work. If you bring outside money in to back the lucky person ... it'll be a matter of time (before some unsavory person comes along.)
We want a true non-profit corporation.
How will you watch these not-for-profit corporations who have all kinds of games they can play? (To hide the profits.)
(Wants to see oversight of that.)
(Doesn't like the lottery or the requirement for a dispensary to have lots of capital on hand.)
Trust has nothing to do with capital. (Points out that large corporations with lots of capital still screw people over.)
I'm a successful business owner in Arizona.
(High taxes will feed the black market.)
They'll do it without the cards ... instead of doing it the right way.
(Talks about how his girlfriend and two relatives had cancer.) The use of marijuana absolutely does help.
Don't require a capital investment as a measure of integrity and trust.
You need to delete the lottery, delete the capital, and make it available to patients.
(Says draft rules were thoughtfully drafted.)
Despite the numerous positive, (the bad parts of the draft rules will impede the industry and patient access to medicine.)
(Lottery winners can sell their licenses to the highest bidder.)
Applications should be reviewed by the DHS. (Winners should be awarded based on qualifications and experience.)
Deena Dedejobi --
I have absolutely no interest in a dispensary.
I want to make sure the right people open a dispensary for the right reasons.
(She represents a doctor. He thinks the lottery system shouldn't be implemented.)
Lottery selections (allow disreputable dispensary owners in.)
(Suggests $1,000 fees for each step of process for owners.)
The CHAA zones won't work. (The population is too low in some places to support a dispensary.)
Why not a 24-hour dispensary? (She thinks it should be okay.)
(Panelist Tom Salow cuts in to say that DHS does not regulate the hours of operation in the draft -- that's a city zoning issue.)
(Deena mentions that we need "geothermal" to save Arizona and our planet.)
Salow -- We'll stay an extra couple of minutes. (He notes that the panel will meet in Tucson tomorrow, then come back to Tempe at 9 a.m. on Thursday.)
Guy in baseball hat -- (Says he'll go to Amsterdam, buy seeds and bring them back.)
I'm not scared.
(Still nine people in line to speak.)
The dispensaries, this whole process is shady.
(People start yelling at him, saying he's not talking about the rules.)
I've been doing this for a couple of years here in California.
(Says he doesn't like how the law prohibits growing pot if a dispensary is less than 25 miles away.)
(Talks about the collective growing process in California. People put in their own money, get medicine from the collective. People clap.)
(He's an advocate of organic medicine. Talks about indoor growing.)
Indoors, you cannot be truly organic inside of a room.
("Yes, you can!" someone shouts from the crowd.)
I would like to put in there that outdoor greenhouses (are acceptable for cultivating medicinal pot.)
When the DEA comes ... are they just going to be able to access this database and go to the houses of dispensary owners and patients.
Tom Salow: I plan on writing some FAQs. (That can address many of the questions brought up at these hearings.)
Salow notes that people can submit electronic responses on the DHS Web site.
(People start bitching that they didn't get time to speak.)
Salow -- I have to afford the opportunity to everyone for three hours. I will stick around if anyone wants to present some comments. (And people can submit responses through the Web site.)