Two registered medical cannabis patients - Yolanda Daniels and Lisa Becker - have filed a lawsuit against the state in an attempt to reduce the annual registration fee for patients. The patients are claiming that the state is illegally hoarding the funds and failing to reduce fees as is required by the 2010 law that legalized medical cannabis.
According to the lawsuit, the state's Department of Health's account balance at the end of 2015 was $11.5 million; attorney Sean berberian says the Department collected $2.6 million more in fees from patients, caregivers and dispensaries than is necessary to run the program.
According to Berberian, the state isn't properly following the 2010 measure that legalized medical cannabis in the state; the law states that fees shall only be “sufficient to implement and administer” the program. Because of this, the patients and their attorney are arguing that the state should reduce the $150 annual charge for patients, and $200 annual charge for caregivers.
“In a time when medication is more expensive than ever, the state should be helping to make it cheaper for Arizonans,” says Berberian. “The state is deliberately squatting on the excess fund instead of refunding it to patients or using it in furtherance of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, such as to help patients.”
Berbarian claims that former-Governor Jan brewer “influenced the setting of the initial patient and caregiver card prices to keep many qualifying patients from accessing legal medication.” He notes that current Governor Doug Ducey remains opposed to medical cannabis.
Berberian has filed suit with Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jo Lynn Gentry. Unsurprisingly, Assistant Attorney General Aubrey Joy Corcoran wants the case thrown out.
Details on Arizona's medical cannabis law, including information on how to become a qualified patient, can be found by clicking here.