East Valley Tribune: In this story Will Humble, the former Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services explains Proposition 205, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. “If Prop. 205 passes, dispensaries get first crack at becoming retail marijuana stores. . . . Humble said medical marijuana patients can continue that routine if Prop. 205 passes and avoid paying the 15 percent surcharge on retail marijuana. . . . If approved by voters, the new law allows anyone 21 or older to buy up to one ounce of marijuana or up to five grams of concentrated marijuana, beginning March 2, 2018. . . . Anyone 21 or older would be able to grow up to six of their own plants, although landlords are allowed to prohibit growing plants on their property.”
Phoenix Business Journal: “Will Humble, who resigned in March as director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, has landed at the University of Arizona, where he has served as adjunct faculty for nearly a dozen years. On April 13, he will begin his new position as division director for health policy and evaluation at the Center for Population Science and Discovery at the Arizona Health Sciences Center.”
Tucson Daily Star: “Arizona’s chief health officer wants to make it more difficult to add new conditions to the list for which doctors can recommend medical marijuana. The change would require “clear and convincing evidence,” published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, that there is some benefit from the use of marijuana for the specified medical condition. State Health Director Will Humble said that probably means multiple articles.”
East Valley Tribune: “The state’s top health official is weighing new regulations to ensure that users of medical marijuana snacks and drinks know when to stop. Will Humble said he may require dispensaries to certify that an employee has discussed with the customer the effects of the product being bought. Humble, the state’s health director, said he exploring the use of what might be called “secret shoppers” to ensure that customers are being told what they need to know to remain safe.”
Arizona Republic: “Arizona’s top health official is considering whether people suffering from PTSD should be allowed to use medical marijuana, which could amount to a big win for veterans and medical marijuana advocates. . . . Will Humble’s consideration of the issue comes after an administrative law judge on Wednesday recommended state officials allow those with PTSD to use medical marijuana, reversing Humble’s earlier denial.”
Arizona Republic: “Patients seeking permission to use medical marijuana cited chronic pain as a debilitating condition about 26,500 times from July 2012 through June 2013, representing 73 percent of Arizonans who qualified to use the drug. Will Humble, director of the state Department of Health Services, said he wants to more quickly root out physicians who are improperly recommending medical marijuana . . . . A new report by the health department analyzed the second year of the state’s medical marijuana program and found that a small number of physicians write a big share of the pot recommendations.”
See also “Small core of doctors write vast majority of medical marijuana recommendations,” which says:
“Just 25 doctors are responsible for allowing more than 25,000 Arizonans to legally obtain marijuana, according to a report released Friday. State health director Will Humble said the evidence shows development of “certification mills” since voters approved a law in 2010 that allows those with a doctor’s recommendation to obtain up to 2½ ounces of marijuana every two weeks.”
Arizona Medical Marijuana Law Does Not Allow Possession of Resin Extracted from Cannibis in Food Products
On August 30, 2013, Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote a detailed article that concludes with the following statement:
“registered identification card holders and dispensaries may be exposed to criminal prosecution under the Criminal Code for possessing a narcotic drug if the card holder or dispensary possesses resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus Cannabis or an edible containing resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus Cannabis.’
Read also “Marijuana regulations might not cover all food products.” The full text of the article is below.
“Are Marijuana and Cannabis the same thing when it comes to Arizona Law? The short answer is no- and the distinction may be an important one for Qualified Patients.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act provides registry identification card holders and dispensaries a number of legal protections for their medical use of Marijuana pursuant to the Act. Interestingly, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act definition of “Marijuana” in A.R.S. § 36-2801(8) differs from the Arizona Criminal Code’s (“Criminal Code”) definition of “Marijuana” in A.R.S. § 13-3401(19). In addition, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act makes a distinction between “Marijuana” and “Usable Marijuana.” A.R.S. § 36-2801(8) and (15).
The definition of “Marijuana” in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is “… all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis whether growing or not, and the seeds of such plant.” The definition of “Usable Marijuana” is “… the dried flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds, stalks and roots of the plant and does not include the weight of any non-marijuana ingredients combined with marijuana and prepared for consumption as food or drink.” The “allowable amount of marijuana” for a qualifying patient and a designated caregiver includes “two-and-one half ounces of usable marijuana.” A.R.S. § 36-2801(1).
The definition of “Marijuana” in the Criminal Code is “… all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis, from which the resin has not been extracted, whether growing or not, and the seeds of such plant.” “Cannabis” (a narcotic drug under the Criminal Code) is defined as: “… the following substances under whatever names they may be designated: (a) The resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant, its seeds or its resin. Cannabis does not include oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any fiber, compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the mature stalks of such plant except the resin extracted from the stalks or any fiber, oil or cake or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination; and (b) Every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such resin or tetrahydrocannabinol.” A.R.S. § 13-3401(4) and (20)(w).
An issue the Department has been wrestling with for some time is how the definition of “Marijuana” and “Usable Marijuana” in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and the definition of “Cannabis” and “Marijuana” in the Criminal Code fit together. This confusion, which appears to be shared by dispensaries and registered identification card holders alike, is not easy to clear up and has resulted in the Department receiving numerous questions regarding the interplay between the protections in A.R.S. § 36-2811 and the Criminal Code. While we can’t provide legal advice as to whether a certain conduct is punishable under the Criminal Code (only an individual’s or entity’s legal counsel can do this), “Cannabis” is defined as the “resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis” and “Cannabis” is listed as a narcotic drug according to the Criminal Code in A.R.S. § 13-3401(4) and (20)(w).
In other words, registered identification card holders and dispensaries may be exposed to criminal prosecution under the Criminal Code for possessing a narcotic drug if the card holder or dispensary possesses resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus Cannabis or an edible containing resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus Cannabis. If you’re concerned that your conduct may expose you to criminal prosecution, you may wish to consult an attorney. We’ll be providing some specific guidance for dispensaries licensed by the ADHS next week.
Big Practical Problem: How would a card carrying patient or a dispensary employee know if a food or beverage product contained resin extracted from a cannabis plant?
Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services said on July 31, 2013:
“The Superior Court judge ruled this morning that our requirement for Registration Certificate holders (dispensaries) to get an approval to operate within one year in order to renew their certificates is unreasonable. Because of today’s ruling, we’re going to accept renewal requests for all the current dispensaries in the state, whether they’re open or not. The initial year for dispensaries is over next week.
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.”
The Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services said the following on July 26, 2013:
“We’ve issued 61 medical marijuana dispensary operating licenses so far with only 2 weeks left on the 52 week time-clock. We have 21 more inspections scheduled between now and August 6, which is the deadline for Registration Certificate holders to get their Approval to Operate License so they can renew their Certificate (a 1-year timeframe). The biggest hang up with the remaining certificate holders seems to be their city occupancy approval (we don’t give operating licenses without a certificate of occupancy from their local jurisdiction).
I was a witness in court a couple of times last week testifying in a case in which the Plaintiffs argue that our requirement that Registration Certificate holders (the lottery winners) get their Approval to Operate within 1 year is unreasonable. Under our regulations, the Approval to Operate is required in order to renew a Registration Certificate. Of course, there’s more to the lawsuit than that- but that’s a core issue.
We’re awaiting the Superior Court Judge’s ruling in the next week or so. We expect the ruling to provide some clarity about whether and how we’ll proceed when it comes to renewing Registration Certificates. The decision may also influence the timeline for the “second round” issuance of Certificates.”
Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services said on May 30, 2013:
“We got sued again this week regarding our Medical Marijuana Program. This time we’re getting sued because the Plaintiffs think that our 1-year deadline for getting a dispensary up and running is too restrictive. Basically, the Plaintiffs allege that the legal issues that have arisen in response to the White Mountain Health Center, Inc. (a prospective dispensary) case have made it unreasonably difficult for the Plaintiffs to be able to get their dispensaries up and running in the 1-year timeframe allowed under our regulations.
We have a court hearing on Friday morning (May 31, 2013) in which the Plaintiffs are asking for a Temporary Restraining Order delaying at least the June 7 deadline for submitting their application for an Approval to Operate. Ultimately, they’re looking to extend our final deadline for actually getting their Approval to Operate past our August 7 deadline (after which their Registration Certificate expires).
BTW… We have about 20 or so dispensaries already up and running across the state and another dozen or so have already filed their request for an Approval to Operate. Also, you can see links to the other 12 lawsuits that have been filed on our website.”
On November 19, 2012, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services Will Humble wrote the following on his blog:
“Last Thursday I announced in a blog post that our team had just returned from a field inspection for a dispensary applicant in Glendale, that there were no major deficiencies, and that we had awarded the dispensary an “Approval to Operate”. Today the Applicant asked for a short delay in the effective date for their Operating License in order to ensure that things run smoothly when they officially begin operations. Our team approved a delay in their license’s effective date this afternoon.
Once the new dispensary begins its operations, we will no longer be approving “requests to cultivate” among new (and renewing) cardholders in most of the metro area… because self-grow (12 plants) is only allowed when the patient lives more than 25 miles from the nearest operating dispensary according to the law. The vast majority of the Valley is within 25 miles of this new (but not yet operating) dispensary.
As an FYI… once a dispensary is operating, it is required by our rules to be “… operating and available to dispense medical marijuana to qualifying patients and designated caregivers at least 30 hours weekly between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.”
Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services wrote the following on October 22, 2012, on his blog:
“There seems to be some confusion going on right now about the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and products made with marijuana. Patients and caregivers can make edibles and things like tinctures with usable marijuana from the patient or caregiver’s allowable amount of marijuana. However, there’s really no legal way for a patient or caregiver to sell these edibles or tinctures, to anybody. A patient or caregiver may be able to purchase these products from a dispensary, once the dispensary is licensed to operate.”
Arizona Attorney General’s Opinion Kinda Corrects Arizona Governor & Concludes Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act is Partially Preempted by Federal Law
Last week Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s response to a letter from 13 Arizona County Attorneys that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act was preempted by federal law was to say you legal types don’t know what you are talking about and “I am duty-bound to implement the AMMA.” Now her lawyer says oops-e-dazey, not so fast. In a press release issued today Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said:
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne issued the following statement in connection with an Opinion being issued today regarding the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) stating the law is pre-empted in part:
“I have received formal requests from State Representative John Kavanagh and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, as to whether the Arizona medical marijuana initiative is preempted by federal law. This past Friday, August 3rd, I received the same request from 13 of Arizona’s 15 county attorneys, including county attorneys of both political parties. The request from the 13 county attorneys stated: ‘your immediate action is requested in light of the pending licensing of dispensaries beginning on August 7th.’
The 13 county attorneys have clearly communicated their view that the AMMA is preempted by federal law.
I have taken seriously the request of the 13 county attorneys that immediate action is needed, and the Opinion is attached. The Opinion was prepared by professional attorneys entirely on the basis of legal precedent, without regard to policy considerations as to medical marijuana as an issue, and without regard to my views. This is a purely legal analysis, as is the duty of this office.
Two recent cases, one from California, and one from Oregon, hold that the state cannot ‘authorize’ actions that are forbidden under federal law. A state can, however, decriminalize marijuana under its own laws. These cases compel the Opinion being issued today.
The AMMA ‘authorizes’ dispensaries, and the growing of marijuana. Under the California and Oregon court decisions, those provisions would be preempted by federal law. However, the provisions of the AMMA that relate to patient and caregiver identification cards would not be preempted because they merely identify those individuals who are exempt from prosecution under state law for the possession or use of marijuana for medical purposes. The use of the cards for that purpose would not be preempted.
This is an Attorney General’s opinion, not a court order, and a court may or may not agree with this opinion. We expect that there will be a motion for accelerated resolution of this issue in a pending court case.
Accordingly, I have advised the Department of Health Services that the law does not prevent them from proceeding with the planned lottery on Tuesday, August 7, and the issuance of registration certificates. The receipt of a registration certificate does not give a certificate holder permission to open or operate a dispensary. Certificate holders must subsequently apply for approval to operate after having completed a number of additional requirements. Dispensary certificate holders are advised that it would be prudent to delay additional work and expenditures pending resolution of the preemption issue by a court, which I expect will be resolved in an accelerated manner.
Note to Prospective Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owners: Read the last sentence of the above press release twice because it appears to me that the Arizona Attorney General is giving prospective Arizona medical marijuana dispensary owners legal advice. Mr. Horne won’t stop the Arizona Department of Health Services from issuing dispensary registration certificates and moving forward with its rules that implement the parts of the AMMA that are preempted by federal law, but he seems to suggest that a future court case will have more to say on the subject of the life or death of Arizona medical marijuana dispensaries.
Read the Attorney General’s August 6, 2012, Opinion, which states:
Is the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (“the AMMA”) preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act (“the CSA”)? . . . Yes, in part. . . . Because of federal prohibitions, those AMMA provisions and related rules that authorize any cultivating, selling, and dispensing of marijuana are preempted.
The following is the text of Will Humble’s blog post of today. Mr. Humble is the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The AZ Attorney General issued an Opinion and a media release this afternoon about the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The Opinion states, in part, that the voter approved Act is pre-empted by Federal Law – specifically the part that allows the cultivation, selling or distribution of marijuana. It references 2 recent court cases that states cannot ‘authorize’ actions that are forbidden under federal law.
Today’s Opinion is just that, an Attorney General Opinion… not a court order, and a court (or courts) may or may not agree. Attorney General Horne has said in his media release today that he expects that there will be a motion for accelerated resolution of this issue in a pending court case.
The AGs Office also advised us this afternoon that today’s Opinion doesn’t prevent us from proceeding with tomorrow’s planned lottery on Tuesday, August 7, and the issuance of Registration Certificates- so we’ll be proceeding tomorrow as planned at 9 a.m. I’m not sure how or whether today’s Opinion will impact the issuance of subsequent Operating Licenses for the folks that are allocated a Registration Certificate tomorrow morning.
So, at least for now, we’ll take it one day at a time.
For those who are keeping score at home, here’s the latest stats in the game of Arizona’s wack-a-mole medical marijuana dispensary industry:
- Arizona Governor Jan Brewer: Opposes the AMMA, but will allow it to be implemented because “though the Department of Justice has prosecuted a select number of large medical-marijuana operations in California and other states, the federal government’s position remains unclear with regard to the AMMA and participation in this law by Arizona State employees.”
- Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne: “AMMA provisions and related rules that authorize any cultivating, selling, and dispensing of marijuana are preempted,” but go for it prospective dispensary owners and Arizona Department of Health Services.
- Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services: “The AGs Office also advised us this afternoon that today’s Opinion doesn’t prevent us from proceeding with tomorrow’s planned lottery on Tuesday, August 7, and the issuance of Registration Certificates- so we’ll be proceeding”
- Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores: “Arizona voters determined that dispensaries should be permitted if in compliance with our Arizona law, as county attorney, I must respect the will of the people.”
- Arizona Attorney Ryan Hurley: “even in California, where there is a lot of uncertainty, these notions that the sky is going to fall just don’t hold up.”
- Arizona Republic columnist E. J. Montini: “federal authorities, who have expressed no interest in prosecuting medical-marijuana cases”
- 13 Arizona County Attorneys: The AMMA is preempted by federal law.
- Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Ann Birmingham Sheel: “compliance with the AMMA and Arizona regulations will not provide a safe harbor or immunity from federal prosecution for anyone involved in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana. . . . state employees who conduct activities authorized by the AMMA are not immune from liability under the CSA.”
- Former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke: “The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona (“the USAO”) will continue to vigorously prosecute individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing, distribution and marketing activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law. . . . The public should understand, however, that even clear and unambiguous compliance with AMMA does not render possession or distribution of marijuana lawful under federal statute.”
- U.S. Department of Justice: “The federal government will ‘vigorously enforce’ federal laws against those who ‘operate and facilitate large marijuana production facilities and marijuana production facilities involved in the cultivation, sale and distribution of marijuana, even if purportedly for medical purposes’.”
Half Time Score
AMMA Dispensaries Good Team: 5.5
(1 each for Gov. Brewer, Will Humble, Daisy Flores, Ryan Hurley & EJ Montini + .5 for AG Horne)
AMMA Dispensaries Bad Team: 115.5
(.5 for AG Horne + 13 county attorneys + 2 former U.S. attorneys + 100 because the DOJ is the DOJ).
On August 3, 2012, Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, posted the following on his blog:
Next Tuesday (August 7) is “Selection Tuesday” for our medical marijuana dispensary applicants. By the end of the day, we’ll have whittled the initial pool of 486 medical marijuana dispensary applications down to 99. We won’t be allocating the full allotment of 126 Registration Certificates on Tuesday because 27 of our Community Health Analysis Areas had no applicant at all- leaving 99 Community Health Analysis Areas with at least 1 applicant. About 75 of the 99 had 2 or more applicants- so we’ll have about 75 drawings on Tuesday. We’ll post an updated summary of how many eligible applications there are by district on our website before the drawing.
We’ll be using a device that blows pre-labeled ping pong type balls inside of a clear cage to randomly select the successful applicant in each competitive area. We’ll go CHAA by CHAA starting at #1 and continuing through #126. The agenda for the day is posted on our website (the first selection will begin at 9 am and we’ll finish around 1 pm). Applicants will be e-mailed the number of their ball(s) in advance… and all applicants will be notified of the selection results electronically by Wednesday. The successful applicants will receive their Registration Certificate after they complete their required Dispensary Agent paperwork.
The process will be webcast live on this internet URL and the entire event will be recorded and posted on the ADHS dispensary website. Because of the large number of applicants and the limited capacity of our facility, credentialed media, a few Agency staff and our independent auditors will be the only folks that’ll be invited to the selection location. The Act doesn’t allow us to identify the applicants by name or even business name- so we’ll use application numbers to identify the successful applicants. We’ll also post a table of the successful applicants (by application number) on our dispensary website by the close of business on Tuesday.
Everybody that’s allocated a Dispensary Registration Certificate will have a little less than a year to build out and get an “Approval to Operate”. Keep in mind that an application for Approval to Operate a dispensary is not complete until we get a written notice that the dispensary and cultivation facility (if it’s in the business plan) is ready for an inspection and they meet our criteria. Our team recently put together some tools to help Registration Certificate holders meet our Approval to Operate criteria, including an Approval to Operate Application Checklist, Approval to Operate Application Instructions, and the Dispensary Inspection Checklist
Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services wrote the following on his blog on July 23, 2012:
“Most of the applicants for medical marijuana registration certificates have been able to correct deficiencies in their applications… and 460 of the 486 applications we received are now complete. Five applications have been withdrawn, 3 have been denied, 15 are pending, and 3 are on the clock to respond to requests for additional information.
The complete applications are currently being evaluated to determine which will be eligible and move on to the random selection process on August 7th. At least 25 applications will be allocated certificates without going through the random selection process because they’re the only application in their district (CHAA). We’ll be providing more information about the August 7th agenda in the next couple of weeks. We’ll probably be issuing 95-99 dispensary registration certificates in about 3 weeks.”
East Valley Tribune: “State Health Director Will Humble refused Thursday to expand the conditions for which marijuana can be legally recommended. . . . Humble’s decision disappointed Suzanne Sisley. She is a physician with the Telemedicine Program at the UA College of Medicine and a specialist in internal medicine and psychiatry. She said that, despite the lack of formal full-blown scientific studies, she believes marijuana works. . . .Sisley said, though, the decision comes as no real surprise. She said that Humble, in demanding evidence from scientifically backed peer-reviewed studies, essentially set the requests to expand the medical marijuana program up for rejection. That’s because the National Institute for Drug Abuse, which controls the only legal supply of marijuana for medical research has consistently refused to give the go-ahead for the kind of studies Humble said he needs.”
See also the Arizona Republic’s interview of Will Humble on his decision to reject new conditions. Mr. Humble said:
“I’ll concede that the clinical-trial type of research is controlled by NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) and they are pretty strict when it comes to clinical trials, when it comes to the use of testing medical marijuana. But there are all kinds of studies that can be conducted that don’t need NIDA approval.”
Arizona Department of Health Services Rejects Petitions to Add New Conditions for Obtaining Medical Marijuana
The following is the text of a July 19, 2012, blog post by Will Humble, the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services:
“The voter approved list of conditions that already qualify patients for an AZ Medical Marijuana Registration Card (with a doctor’s certification) includes any of the following: any chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition (or its treatment) that causes severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, severe and persistent muscle spasms, wasting, or seizures, cancer, glaucoma, HIV, Hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease. The AZ Medical Marijuana Act also requires us to periodically accept petitions to permanently add new medical conditions to the list of conditions that qualify folks for a card.
We accepted petitions from the public to add new medical conditions back in January. Folks submitted numerous articles as a part their petitions for PTSD 1; PTSD 2; Depression; Migraines; and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. We also received lots of informal comments regarding adding PTSD; Depression; Migraines; Generalized Anxiety Disorder and General comments. We also heard in person testimony from dozens of folks at our public hearing in May.
Because my guiding principle for making the decision was to use science and research, we contracted with the U of A College of Public Health to do an evidence review of published scientific studies to help us to make a more informed decision. You can see the UA’s analyses for Depression; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Migraine Headaches; and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on our petition website. The UA used the GRADE methodology to evaluate the quality of the studies looking at the benefits and harms of using Cannabis to treat or provide relief for the conditions that were petitioned to add to the list of qualifying conditions for a Medical Marijuana Registration card. Also, our ADHS Medical Advisory Committee reviewed and analyzed the data and provided me with recommendations earlier this week.
We heard and received a host of moving stories from the public both on-line and during our a public hearing in May. Many of the commenters and folks that testified self-reported that they believe Cannabis provided relief for the petitioned conditions. However, 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. 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, 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.
Whatever you think of the decision, just know that our team and I really took an objective and close look at the scientific evidence before making this decision. And remember, the Act provides for a judicial review of this decision and a continuing petition process. In fact, we’ll be accepting petitions again next week.”
Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote the following on July 6, 2012:
“The AZ Medical Marijuana Act requires us to periodically accept petitions to add new medical conditions to the list of conditions that qualify folks for an AZ Medical Marijuana Registration Card. In January, we accepted petitions from the public and had a public hearing in May. Folks submitted numerous articles as a part their petitions for PTSD 1; PTSD 2; Depression; Migraines; and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. We also received lots of informal comments regarding adding PTSD; Depression; Migraines; Generalized Anxiety Disorder and General comments.
We also contracted with the U of A to review published scientific studies related to marijuana use and the petitioned conditions. You can see the UA analyses for Depression; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Migraine Headaches; and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on our petition website. Our ADHS medical team will be meeting within the next week or so and will be providing me with their analysis and recommendations. The ultimate decision rests with me, the Director, and I have a decision deadline in late July.”
Will Humble Warns Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Not to Pretend to be a Not-for-Profit Business
The following is the text of a post made by Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, on his blog on June 23, 2012:
“We have a couple of new projects in the works to ensure that the dispensary system reflects a medical rather than a recreational system. We’re working with Arizona’s pharmacy/poison control systems to put together a contract to provide technical assistance and educational materials to the future dispensary medical directors. We’re also putting together a contract to hire a vendor to help us ensure that the future dispensaries are truly “non-profit”. The contractor will be reviewing the required dispensary audited financial statements to make sure they’re on the up-and-up in terms of truly being “non-profit”. For example- (among other things) the contractor will be looking for evidence that dispensaries are getting “fair value” for goods, services, salaries, and reimbursements- to make sure that they don’t use a shell game to over-pay for things or services as a way of moving assets out of the dispensary. Stay tuned.”
The following is the text of a post made by Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, on his blog on June 21, 2012:
“Overall, we ended up receiving 486 medical marijuana dispensary applications among our 126 Community Health Analysis Areas (CHAAs). Twenty-seven of the CHAAs had no applicant at all- leaving 99 Community Health Analysis Areas with at least 1 applicant. Seventy-five of the 99 had more than 1 applicant. Assuming that each of these end up being complete, we’ll need to randomly select successful applicants in 75 of the CHAAs (we’ll be posting an updated summary of how many complete applications there are by CHAA in a few weeks). Here’s how it’ll work for the competitive CHAAs on Selection Tuesday (August 7):
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. 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. Each applicant will receive their unique identifier electronically so they’ll know whether they won their CHAA drawing via the webcast. The Certificates will be mailed later that day.
Everybody that’s allocated a Dispensary Registration Certificate will have a little less than a year to build out and get an “Approval to Operate”. Keep in mind that an application for Approval to Operate a dispensary is not complete until we get a written notice that the dispensary is ready for an inspection and they meet our criteria. Our team recently put together some tools to help Registration Certificate holders meet our Approval to Operate criteria, including an Approval to Operate Application Checklist, Approval to Operate Application Instructions, and the Dispensary Inspection Checklist.”
Yesterday Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote the following on his blog:
“It’s been a busy week for our medical marijuana team. Our 2-week dispensary application period ended a couple of hours ago… as did the hearing regarding adding new debilitating medical conditions.
We received 484 dispensary applications over the last 2 weeks. As you know, we have 126 Community Health Analysis Areas (CHAAs) and a maximum of 126 possible dispensaries (one per CHAA). Some of our CHAA’s received multiple applications- for example, the Estrella CHAA had 16 applicants and the Flagstaff E CHAA 13 had applicants. Many other CHAAs had only 1 applicant. 27 areas didn’t receive any applications. You can see the number of applications by CHAA on our website.
Our team just finished logging all of the applications that we received and has already started reviewing some of the applications for “Administrative Completeness”. Any applications that are “Administratively Incomplete” (in other words, if they’re missing something) will be returned to the applicants so they can correct whatever is wrong. In June, we’ll be checking for “Substantive Completeness” (which is a more thorough, quality review), and the applicants will have another chance to make corrections. We expect to award all of the Registration Certificates on August 7.
Registration Certificates will be awarded to applicants in CHAAs with only 1 applicant on August 7 as long as their application is Administratively and Substantively complete. We’ll be holding a random drawing on August 7 to award Certificates in the CHAAs with more than 1 qualified applicant. Of course, some CHAAs will not have a dispensary this year because we didn’t have an applicant.
We also had our hearing regarding adding debilitating medical conditions this afternoon at our Laboratory. We heard from dozens of folks – some urged us to add the conditions and some that urged us not to. We have also received hundreds of comments on-line. We have several more weeks before we need to make a decision. If you’d like to view the public comment session, we have a link on our website.”
Will Humble, the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote the following on his blog on May 18, 2012:
“We’ll wrap up our first week of accepting medical marijuana dispensary Registration Certificate applications today. We’ve received about 40 applications so far this week- and our team has been doing an excellent job of reviewing the applications for “Administrative Completeness” this week- so much so that we don’t even have a backlog (yet).
Any applications that are “Administratively Incomplete” (in other words, if they’re missing something) are being returned to the applicants so they can correct whatever is wrong. In June, we’ll be checking for “Substantive Completeness” (which is a more thorough, quality review), and the applicants will have another chance to make corrections. We expect to award all of the Registration Certificates on August 7. If there’s only 1 qualified applicant in a Community Health Analysis Area- that applicant will be awarded a Certificate. We’ll be holding a random drawing on August 7 to award Certificates in the CHAAs with more than 1 qualified applicant.
Prospective applicants can check out our Registration Certificate Application Checklist, Instructions, and the official Application on our Medical Marijuana Dispensary webpage. We’re refreshing our dispensary application page each weekday around the close of business to show how many applications we’ve received by Community Health Analysis Area. Applicants have until next Friday (May 25) to finish and turn in their paperwork.”
The following text was posted by Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, on his blog on May 14, 2012:
“Today marks the start of the 2-week window for applying for a medical marijuana dispensary Registration Certificate in Arizona. Prospective applicants can check out our Registration Certificate Application Checklist, Instructions, and the official Application on our Medical Marijuana Dispensary webpage. In the first two hours, seven people had dropped off applications.
We’ll start reviewing applications as they come in- and we’ll stop taking applications at the close of business on May 25. We’ll have 30 working days to review the applications- and folks will have 20 working days to submit any documents or information that were missing during our review of the application. We expect to award all of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificates on August 7. If there’s only 1 qualified applicant in a Community Health Analysis Area- that applicant will be awarded a Registration Certificate. We’ll be holding a random drawing on August 7 to award Registration Certificates in the CHAAs with more than 1 qualified applicant.
We’ll refresh our dispensary application page every weekday around the close of business to show how many applications we’ve received by Community Health Analysis Area.”
Arizona Republic: “Medical-marjiuana dispensaries will have to employ a medical director at their operations, as state health officials require, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled. The non-profits could begin opening this summer. Judge Richard Gama’s May 1 decision is an important one because it could prevent abuse of medical marijuana, said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.”
The following is what Will Humble said about the court’s decision in this case:
“One of the outstanding legal uncertainties regarding our implementation of AZ Medical Marijuana Act has been the Compassion First v. Brewer lawsuit that challenged our authority to require future dispensaries to have a Medical Director. We’ve always thought dispensary medical direction was a key component to making sure that future dispensaries act in the best interest of patients and prevent recreational diversion. After a judge’s ruling today, it looks like we’ll be OK.
Today a Maricopa Superior Court judge denied the Plaintiffs’ “Motion for Leave” to Amend their previous Complaint (which the court invalidated some of our dispensary selection criteria). The Compassion First were attempting to re-open the case to challenge our requirement that dispensaries have a medical director.
In his opinion (that largely tracks our argument), the judge denied their Motion, finding that the Plaintiffs failed to provide an adequate basis for declining to bring the medical director challenge in their initial complaint and that we (and the public) would be unduly prejudiced if the Court were to grant their Motion. Of course, the Compassion First plaintiffs could always appeal- but (for now) the upshot is that we can require future dispensaries to have medical direction.”
In this radio interview on April 25, 2012, with Steve Goldstein of KJZZ 91.5 FM radio in Phoenix, Arizona, the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services discusses ADHS’ process for adding new conditions for which an Arizona doctor may recommend medical marijuana to licensed patients. The new conditions under consideration are: (1) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; (2) Generalized Anxiety Disorder; (3) Migraines; and (4) Depression. The public may give input on these four conditions at a hearing to be held:
May 25, 2012 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
State Laboratory Conference Room
250 N. 17th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85007
On April 20, 2012, Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote on his blog:
“The voter approved language in the AZ Medical Marijuana Act directs us to periodically accept and evaluate petitions to add new debilitating medical conditions. We’ve made it through the first phase of considering whether to add 4 new debilitating conditions… 1) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; 2) Generalized Anxiety Disorder; 3) Migraines; and 4) Depression. You’ll be able to give us your thoughts about these four conditions at a public hearing next month (May 25th from 1 – 4 p.m. at our State Lab). You can read the information we already have about these four starting next week.
If we decide to add PTSD or any other debilitating conditions, we want to make sure we’re on solid medical ground. I’m heading down to a conference in Tucson next weekend where physicians can get Continuing Medical Education credits for learning about medical cannabis.”
Arizona Republic: “He said the ‘gold rush’ for medical-marijuana dispensary licenses died down in the past year after litigation tied the program up. ‘I just don’t sense the same land-rush type of attitude that we had a year ago,’ Humble said. ‘I don’t think we’ll be overwhelmed with applications’.”
Phoenix Business Journal: “’Had we gone forward in 2011 with the dispensary applications, I think we would have had hundreds of applications.’ . . . he expects that the most that will be awarded is 110 dispensary licenses.”
Final Arizona Medical Marijuana Rules Approved & DHS Announces Dispensary Applications will be Accepted May 14th – 25th
The following was posted on Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble’s blog on April 11, 2012:
The tumblers have clicked, and the race to apply for a dispensary is on. Our revised rules for regulating Medical Marijuana were filed and became official today- and we’ll be accepting applications for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificates from May 14 through May 25.
The unofficial rules incorporate the changes that were required by a recent Superior Court Ruling. The judge ordered us: 1) to strike several of the selection criteria we had been planning to use for competitive areas of the state (areas where there will be more than 1 applicant per Community Health Analysis Area); and 2) to implement the law- which is what we’re doing.
You can check out our Registration Certificate Application Checklist, Registration Certificate Application Instructions, and the official Registration Certificate Application on our Medical Marijuana Dispensary webpage. Please don’t try to apply early- the first day we’ll actually accept applications will be May 14. Starting May 14th, every day or so, we’ll refresh our dispensary application page to show how many applications we’ve received by Community Health Analysis Area (CHAA).
We’ll start reviewing applications as they come in (starting on May 14) and we’ll stop taking applications at the close of business (5 p.m.) on May 25. We’ll have 30 working days to review the applications- and applicants will have 20 working days to submit any documents or information that were missing during our review of the application. We expect to award Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificates on August 7. If there’s only 1 qualified applicant in a CHAA, that applicant will be awarded a Registration Certificate. We’ll be holding a random drawing in early August to award Registration Certificates in CHAAs with more than 1 qualified applicant.
Please visit our Medical Marijuana website if you have any further questions. The materials that you’ll need to apply are all posted on-line- including the Application Checklist, Application Instructions, and the official Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificate Application