It’s no secret that some lawmakers want to keep cannabis a crime. Even when marijuana shows to be a lifesaving medicine. Lawmakers in Arizona think medical cannabis rules should be a bit stricter and are looking to charge some doctors who prescribe marijuana with a felony.
Arizona Medical Marijuana Laws
Arizona medical marijuana laws passed in 2010. Registered patients are allowed to possess up to two and one-half ounces of flower and must qualify under the following conditions:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C
- HIV or AIDS
- Persistent Muscle Spasms
Want to Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona? A Full Medical Exam Would Be Required
Lawmakers in Arizona are looking to regulate medical patients who use cannabis, and in order to do want to charge doctors who don’t comply with newly updated regulations with a felony.
This past Thursday, the House Health Committee in Arizona voted 6-3 on HB 2067, a bill that would require doctors to conduct a full medical exam before prescribing medical cannabis. If they don’t comply they could face criminal charges and up to a year in jail. Doctors would also be required to review at least a year of medical records or risk facing similar charges.
Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk is the brains behind the new bill. She says the majority of patients who receive medical marijuana cards don’t have serious conditions.
“This,” Polk said, referring to Arizona’s medical marijuana laws, “is a de facto recreational marijuana program.”
Polk cites that almost 85 percent of medical marijuana patients receive their prescription for chronic pain, while only 3 percent have been prescribed cannabis for cancer. Fewer than 2 percent, she says, have received a medical card for PTSD.
One of her problems lies in the fact that most of the men reporting chronic pain are between 18-30 years old. Polk believes this is a rather young age for these young men to experience such problems.
Not Everyone in Arizona is on Board
This opinion drew sharp criticism from others. Representative Pamela Powers Hanley of Tucson disagrees. She says the largest number of men who are prescribed opioids are in the same age range.
“So, I don’t think you should discount the idea that because a man is young that he does not have chronic pain,” Powers Hanley said in retaliation to Polk’s statement.
She also cited that there are studies that show medical cannabis can be an excellent alternative to opioids, as well as a less expensive option to other pain meds.
“I see this bill,” said Powers Hanley, “as an attempt to overregulate a medicinal plant that has been used for centuries safely.”
Polk also thinks that these “pot docs” in Arizona are just there to make as much money as they can off medical marijuana.
“I hear a lot from the parents who are frustrated because their son has turned 18. They visited what we call ‘pot docs’, and 30 minutes later they walk out with that recommendation,” Polk said.
Now, HB 2067 just needs full House approval.