BY C.M. WATTS
Advocates in Arizona have already drafted a new initiative aimed for the ballot of the 2018 election cycle. The new Arizona medical marijuana initiative mainly focuses on expanding the list of conditions for patients qualifying for cannabis treatment, but also seeks to improve ease of access to store-purchased marijuana, and in some cases, allow patients to grow their own.
Arizona’s current medical marijuana laws allow those with cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, Crohn’s disease and several other conditions, including “severe and chronic pain,” to receive a doctor’s approved cannabis treatment. The new initiative would add more conditions like insomnia and Tourette’s syndrome.
“It would add 20 new debilitating conditions. It would take the state fee from $150 to a $10 application fee. It would change the 25-mile rule that a patient can grow from a dispensary to one mile. It would also make it so that out-of-state patients could obtain medical marijuana from a dispensary,” said Campaign chairman Timothy Cronin to KJZZ.
Organizers believe that gathering the 150,642 petition signatures needed won’t be hard. As the co-operator of the Independent Wellness Center, “[Cronin] figures the 108,000 Arizonan who are qualified to buy up to 2-1/2 ounces of marijuana every two week…are a ready source of signatures,” says tuscon.com. The total number of valid signatures is due by July 2018.
Expanding the current medical marijuana laws in Arizona will be a huge success for granting greater access to patients in Arizona, as it allows a safer alternative to prescription drugs. While medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, many feel that some laws purposefully inhibit people from medical access through stipulations like high fees to obtain a medical marijuana card.
It’s impressive to see those organizing these efforts moving so quickly into action. After all, the state only failed to pass Proposition 205 early this month. As a recreational marijuana law, Proposition 205, would have made marijuana legal to use for those 21 years and older.
With a little under two years until the signatures are due, and 48% of Arizonians in favor of recreational marijuana (after voting on Prop 205), we have a strong feeling we’ll see a medical marijuana expansion measure on the ballot in 2018.