The Arizona Department of Health Services recently added another medical condition to their list of qualifiers, but has plans to enforce such rigid regulations that the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association has decided to file a lawsuit.
Medical marijuana is currently legal in Arizona, but there are still a host of conditions that make potential patients ineligible for cannabis treatment. Over the summer, Will Humble, the Director of Arizona Department of Health Services, issued a decision that will allow sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder to have legal access to medical cannabis to treat their illness beginning in January of 2015.
Although the ruling seems benevolent, there are a few specifics in the upcoming amendment to the law that has sparked frustration among Arizona’s nurses. Similar to other medical marijuana programs in other states, Arizona patients are required to receive a doctor’s recommendation before they’re able to purchase cannabis from a dispensary. Right now, new PTSD patients can get a recommendation but they must also prove that they have exhausted all other conventional treatment options and then wait until January before they’re given access to cannabis for their treatment. These stipulations are what prompted Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association (AZCNA) to seek legal action against the state by filing an appeal at the Maricopa County Superior Court.
“There’s a crisis going on right now,” said Kenny Sobel, an attorney representing the group’s legal case. “Veterans are committing suicide at an alarming rate and those, particularly using the Phoenix VA, aren’t able to get the care they need.”
Legislation surrounding medical cannabis has been a hot topic this year, especially with so many states joining the ever-growing list of places where residents with qualifying illnesses are given access to cannabis for medical reasons. Although there have been many relieved and excited patients around the country, there are still many who have found many of the regulations for various medical marijuana programs to be particularly stringent and unnecessarily inflexible. Officials have gone to great lengths to make sure that cannabis doesn’t land in the wrong hands like establishing caps on the amount of cannabis each patient can procure each month to severely limiting the list of illnesses or medical conditions that qualify a person to become a patient.
According to AZCNA’s lawsuit, the Director doesn’t have the authority to treat newly-added medical conditions any different from the debilitating conditions listed in the original Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. Humble is being prompted to change the language that limits PTSD sufferers from having immediate access to cannabis similar to patients that experience other medical conditions like cancer or Crohn’s disease.
What do you think about the director’s decision to make patients wait until next year to access their medicine? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.