Rules for Medical Marijuana Need More Tweaking, Some Say; Two Public Meetings on Prop 203 Scheduled in Valley This Week

Categories: Proposition 203

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Dr. Ed Suter, a Mesa-based physician, says a physical exam should not be required before a doctor provides someone with a recommendation for medical marijuana.

Andrew Myers, spokesman for the Prop 203 campaign, thinks that hopeful owners of marijuana dispensaries should have to prove they have at least $200,000 in the bank before the state grants them an operating license.

These suggestions and many others will be reviewed by the state Department of Health Services prior to the release of rules guiding the operation of Arizona's medical marijuana system.

Hundreds of people have already sounded off via e-mail or through the news media. This week, the DHS kicked off a week of public meetings across the state to hear even more ideas about the regulations still under development.


Two Phoenix-area meetings -- one Tuesday, the other on Thursday -- will take place at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law's Great Hall, 1100 South McAllister Avenue on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe. Tuesday's meeting starts at 3:30 p.m., while Thursday's begins at 9 a.m. Click here for more info.

Anyone can attend the meetings and express their opinion, though DHS officials will just be listening, not giving a presentation. A disclaimer on the DHS site reminds people that the meetings aren't intended for people who want to open a dispensary.

Myers, now the front man for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, says he'd like to see several revisions in the proposed rules presented so far. He's among the medical pot supporters who want to see robust regulations of the dispensary industry, which he believes are key to preventing a public backlash against the program.

"We're trying to avoid unintended consquences," Myers says of the Association. "I don't really care who the actual applicants who succeed are -- I just want to make sure they're the right kind of applicants."

Verification that dispensary applicants have a minimum chunk of cash in their accounts, say about $200,000, would solve a couple of problems, he says. Only serious professionals would likely apply, and the state could be confident that the would-owner's capital wouldn't come from unknown or even illegal sources, he says.

Under the second draft of rules, dispensary owners could hide their involvement in the operation, Myers says. The proposed rules now allow someone to obtain a dispensary license through the lottery system DHS plans to introduce, then sell the license to someone who hasn't been vetted by the state.

And speaking of the lottery system -- Myers says his group wants to see that eliminated, too, in the final draft of rules. The Association would rather that DHS use a point system to evaluate the quality of each dispensary application, with a "stratifying element," (like the $200,000-minimum) to help make the decision.

DHS Director Will Humble says he prefers the lottery system because it might prevent his agency from being sued by entrepreneurs who don't end up with licenses.

On the patient side of things, the second draft of rules seems to make getting a medical pot card about as tough as finding a prescription for antibiotics. But Dr. Suter, in a written response to DHS and in conversations with New Times, says he finds the proposed system far too strict.

He questions the need for dispensaries to hire a medical director, noting that even pharmacies don't have such a requirement. He also worries that DHS, in trying to define a physician-patient relationship, is flouting the spirit of the voter-approved law:

"We must not allow the Department to require anything, no matter how seemingly innocent, that is not within their authority. Their draft regulations already confirm the Department's propensity to abuse and usurp authority, even to a cruel and capricious degree," he writes.

Click here to read Suter's response in Word format.

Humble and DHS need more suggestions on how to make this system work, so don't sell your own ideas short: If you've got a plan on how best to oversee dispensaries or medical marijuana patients, now's your time to let the community know what you think.

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5 comments
malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

Ending the insanity of drug prohibition by legalized regulation, respecting the rights of the responsible users and focusing on addiction as a sickness, like we do with alcohol and tobacco, may save what remains of our economy and civil institutions along with countless lives and livelihoods. Prohibition continues unabated for shameful political reasons. It cannot, and never will, reduce drug use or addiction.

Prohibition has permanently scarred our national character as well as our individual psyches. Our national policies and cultural practices have become pervaded by the fascistic, prohibitionist mind-set which has turned our domestic police force into a bunch of paramilitary thugs who often commit extra-judicial beatings and executions while running roughshod over our rights in order to "protect us from ourselves".

When we eventually manage to put the horrors of this moronothon behind us, we'll need to engage in some very deep and honest soul-searching as to what we want to be as a nation. Many of our freedoms have been severely circumscribed or lost altogether, our economy has been trashed and our international reputation for being "free and fair" has been dragged through a putrid sewer by vicious narrow-minded drug warrior zealots who are ignorant of abstract concepts such as truth, justice and decency. We'll need to make sure that such a catastrophe is never ever repeated. This may mean that public hearings or tribunals will be held where those who’ve been the instigators and cheerleaders of this abomination will have to answer for their serious crimes against our once prosperous and proud nation.

Each day you remain silent, you help to destroy the Constitution, fill the prisons with our children, and empower terrorists and criminals worldwide while wasting hundreds of billions of your own tax dollars. Prohibition bears many strong and startling similarities to Torquemada­'s inquisition­, it's supporters are servants of tyranny and hate. If you're aware of but not enraged by it's shear waste and cruel atrocities then both your heart and soul must surely be dead.

Millions of fearless Egyptians have recently shown us that recognizing oppression also carries the weight of responsibility to act upon and oppose that oppression.

Ted
Ted

Who the hell is Andrew Myer to determine the right kind of dispensary owner, who are the members of and where is his association located? Seems another scammer is out to derail the voters expressed wishes. I would listen to Dr. Suter on this issue before some guy claiming to represent an association I can't even find.

Kevin W. Hardin
Kevin W. Hardin

I am a little confused. Who is Andrew Myers, really. I have spent hours attempting to locate this "business" or "Association" I can see the press has endorsed him but what exactly are his credentials. It is not filed with the State of Arizona or any state. It has not official address. Mr. Meyers is self proclaimed spokesman? I have seen quotes it represents over 4,000 members. Who are they? Do they pay? If I wanted t join where would someone go?

Charles Ward
Charles Ward

Andrew Meyers is not a scammer, regardless of what you think about his input. Without Mr. Meyers' (and his associates') hard work you would not even have an Arizona Medical Marijuana Act about which you could argue.

Charles Ward
Charles Ward

Had you been paying attention during the past couple of years, you might have discovered who Andrew Myers is. Originally with respect to the medical marijuana situation in Arizona, Mr. Meyers was hired by the Marijuana Policy Project to co-ordinate the campaign that resulted in Proposition 203. He and his associates did the actual work on the ground in Arizona that ultimately led to the passage of Prop 203. That begins to tell you who he is.

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