I'm getting questions about Arizona's medical marijuana program, so I'm going to create several posts on that topic.
One of the criticisms of California's medical marijuana program has been that you can get a medical marijuana card for almost any medical condition, even ones which (arguably) are trivial or non-existent. One comedian joked that he got a Calfornia medical marijuana card for depression, "because I get really really bummed out when I don't have any weed." Arizona's medical marijuana program is designed to avoid that.
In order for you to qualify to get a medical marijuana card, it isn't enough that your doctor thinks you have a medical condition which marijuana would alleviate. Instead, your doctor must certify that you are "likely to receive therapeutic or palliative [symptom-reducing or comfort] benefit from the qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana to treat or alleviate the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition." In other words, if medical marijuana helps you with a medical condition, it doesn't matter unless that medical condition is a
debilitating medical condition. So, what exactly does that term mean? What medical condi-tions are "debilitating" enough to qualify you for medical marijuana? The statute lists them:
•Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
•Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
•Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
•Agitation of Alzheimer's disease
•A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes one of the following:
--Cachexia or wasting syndrome;
--Severe and chronic pain;
--Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy;
--Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
What if your medical condition is not listed (and you will notice that, among other things, no psychiatric condition is listed? You're not completely out of luck, but pretty close.
Arizona law allows a person--any person--to request the addition of other conditions to the list of debilitating medical conditions. In January and July of each calendar year, AZDHS will accept written requests to add a medical condition to the list of the debilitating medical conditions. The requirements for completing a request to add a medical condition include:
•The name of the medical condition or the treatment of the medical condition;
•A description of the symptoms and how they make it hard to do daily living activities.
•The availability of conventional medical treatments to provide therapy or comfort for the condition;
•A summary of the evidence that marijuana will provide therapy or comfort for the medical condition; and
•Articles, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, reporting research on the effects of marijuana on the medical condition, or the treatment of the medical condition, supporting why the medical condition or the treatment of the medical condition should be added.
AZDHS has already brought suit (unsuccessfully) in federal court actually asking the judge to order them not to comply with the medical marijuana program. So obviously they are hostile to the whole idea. Consequently, it seems unlikely that they will be in any hurry to add new "debilitating conditions." But miracles do happen, occasionally.
If you need help with any aspect of Arizona's medical marijuana program, you should make sure you have a hard fighting, straight talking Phoenix criminal defense attorney on your side. So
contact us right away for a free consultation.