Soon Arizona voters will have the chance to fix our broken medical marijuana law by approving the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, and like the legislature; the Arizona Medical Board needs to get ahead of a few potential problems.
Everyone knows that California’s medical marijuana law is laughable at best. One of the problems is the Pot Doc’s who write recommendations for almost anything. But it’s not their fault, it’s the law.
In California doctors can write a medical marijuana recommendation for patients who suffer from specific list of conditions, but the California law also adds a catchall provision that lets doctors approve marijuana use for "any other illness for which marijuana provides relief."
Like the California law, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act lists specific conditions and treatments for which doctors can recommend medical marijuana, but there's an important difference.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act lists debilitating medical condition as one or more of the following,
(a) cancer, glaucoma, positive for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis c, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, crohn’s disease, agitation of alzheimer’s disease, or the treatment of these conditions.
(b) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or it’s treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy, or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
This is the important difference..
(c) Any other medical condition or it’s treatment added by the department pursuant to section 36-2801.01
This is a good start; it puts the responsibility to add other medical conditions on the Arizona Department of Health Services, but Arizona need to go farther.
Doctors need to know what the state expects from them when writing medical marijuana recommendations. We need guidelines like those the Arizona Medical Board enacted in 1997 for the treatment of chronic pain.
I don’t know anyone who suffers one of the debilitating medical conditions listed in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act who doesn’t see a doctor on a regular basis, or at least have a diagnosis from a doctor and medical history.
If Arizona voters approve medical marijuana in November, we need to take it seriously and treat it like medicine, because it is very serious for patients who rely on medical marijuana for relief from chronic pain, nausea, and seizures.