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Arizona Rejects New MMJ

Petitions, Preps Lottery

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Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble talks to supports of medical marijuana.
Awarding Dispensary Certificates Is The Next Step For The State As It Implements The Voter Approved Medical Marijuana Program

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By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine

July 21, 2012 — Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department Of Health Services and the person solely responsible for approving or rejecting petitions to add medical conditions to the state’s medical marijuana program, announced Thursday that he had rejected the first four petitions submitted for addition to the program.

Petitions for depression, generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and migraines were the subject of study and a public hearing in May. Humble said while those who made the petitions and those that supported their passage made compelling arguments, the medical evidence was not strong enough in order for him to approve their addition to the list of qualifying conditions.

“Our literature review found limited scientific evidence to document whether cannabis is helpful or not for the petitioned conditions or that support permanently adding the petitioned conditions to the statutory list of qualifying debilitating conditions identified in the act,” Humble said on his blog Thursday. “In short, I didn’t approve the petitions because of the lack of published data regarding the risks and benefits of using cannabis to treat or provide relief for the petitioned conditions.”

However, he did admit that some who are diagnosed with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and migraines might qualify due to other symptoms or side effects.

“Some of the petitioned conditions (such as migraine headaches) already qualify patients for a medical marijuana registration card if they cause severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, severe and persistent muscle spasms, wasting, or seizures,” Humble said.

The state will begin a new qualifying conditions process next week, he said.

Up next for the state as it implements the medical marijuana program, is awarding dispensary certificates in those community health analysis areas, or CHAAs, where they received more than one application. Humble announced earlier this month that they would be using a “device that blows balls,” to select the winners of the license Aug. 7, but that they would not be making the names of the certificate holders.

“We’ll be using a device that blows balls inside of a clear cage to randomly select the successful applicant in each CHAA. Applicants will be assigned a random code in advance and the person with the code that matches the ball that blows into the chamber will be allocated a registration certificate,” Humble said on his blog. “We’ll repeat this process for each of the competitive CHAAs. The process will be webcast live on a URL that we identify a few days before August 7. The Act doesn’t allow us to identify the successful applicants by name or even business name publicly, so the live announcement will be made using the code that only the applicants will have.”

Those who are award the registration certificate will have a year to prepare to open their doors, at which time they will need to apply for a approval to operate and be subject to an inspection process.

John Guzzon is editor of Modern Times Magazine.
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