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Arizona Could Be First To OK

Marijuana For Depression

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Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble talks to supporters of medical marijuana.
The Arizona Department Of Health Services Will Review Petitions To Add Three New Debilitating Conditions — Depression, Migraines, And Post Traumatic Stress Disorder To The Medical Marijuana Program

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By Staff Report
Modern Times Magazine

Aug. 28, 2013 — Arizona would become the first state in the U.S. to approve marijuana use for depression if a petition requesting its addition to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program is approved later this summer, according to Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Petitions to add migraines and post traumatic stress disorder will also move on to the next stage of review.

Other states, including Arizona, permit the use of marijuana for “chronic pain,” but if approved, Arizona’s specific approval for depression will be the first in the nation.

Humble said the petition to add depression, migraines and post traumatic stress disorder will be considered over the next couple of months by his office. The review process includes consulting with medical professionals — including the University of Arizona College of Public Health — and the review of scientific studies on the impact of marijuana on those conditions. A public hearing will also be held Oct. 29 at the State Lab, 250 N. 17th Ave., Phoenix, from  9 a.m. to noon.

According to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, the DHS must accept to petitions to add new conditions to the program. Only in January 2012 were petitions accepted — for migraines, PTSD, depression and anxiety. After accepting petitions, the DHS has 180 days to review the petitions and to approve or deny the application. In order to schedule a public hearing, the DHS must determine that the condition can impair one’s daily life and that it has been cited that marijuana is efficacious to the treatment of the condition. Since the DHS accepted petitions in the last week of July, the deadline for the state to act on them is sometime during the last week of January 2014.

“The petitions are for PTSD, Migraines, Depression.  All these conditions have already been through the review process in previous petitions- but we’ve asked the UA College of Public Health to look for any new literature that has been published on these topics since the previous review.  This will be the first set of hearings since the first round back in 2012.

In July, the DHS reported that most of the rules they had devised regarding issuing permits would need to be overhauled after a Superior Court judge ruled them “unreasonable.” The case developed because some who were awarded dispensary certificates for a specific area were unable to acquire occupancy permits from the presiding locality.

“The ruling also means we’ll need to rewrite our rules – but that’s not a simple process.  We’ll begin the process of adjusting our regulations to be in accordance with today’s ruling, but it will likely take several months to have everything in line.  Today’s ruling will also delay our decision about how to proceed with “year 2” dispensary applications,” Humble wrote on his blog in July.
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