The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), approved November 2, 2010 by 50.13% of voters, created Arizona's medical marijuana program. This was the third statewide medical cannabis ballot measure to be passed in Arizona. In 1996, voters approved an initiative that would permit doctors to "prescribe" (rather than recommend) medical cannabis, but the initiative was rejected by the state legislature. In 1998, voters again approved a ballot measure allowing doctors to "prescribe." However, because only medicines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may be "prescribed," the measure never went into effect.
AMMA allows a patient with an Arizona registry ID card to use cannabis for medical purposes. Patients may also grow cannabis and appoint a designated caregiver for assistance. Patients and designated caregivers may only cultivate if they live at least 25 miles from a registered dispensary. Until a registered dispensary is operational within 25 miles, all patients with registry ID cards can request permission to cultivate their own medicine.
The rules implementing portions of the AMMA relating to dispensary registration and operation, fees, and other matters were initially adopted by the Arizona Department of Health Services on April 14, 2011, and were amended effective April 11, 2012 and December 5, 2012, under an express rulemaking process to account for changes required by a Superior Court ruling in early 2012.
Since the passage of AMMA, the legislature has passed several laws restricting the rights of patents. In 2011, HB 2541 allows an employer to fire a patient for workplace impairment solely on the word of a “reliable” colleague or a positive drug test and HB 2585 added marijuana patient data to the prescription drug monitoring program. In 2012, HB 2349 prohibited medical cannabis at all schools, vocational schools, and college campuses. In 2015, with HB 2346 the legislature specified that AMMA does not require workers’ compensation benefits to include reimbursement for medical cannabis.
In 2016, Arizona licensed 31 new dispensaries. In 2019 a state court ruled that extracts are legal. Separately, all cannabis and cannabis products must go through mandatory testing beginning November 1, 2020.
Arizona Medical Marijuana Act
The rules that apply to the Medical Marijuana Dispensary portion of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act were filed on April 11, 2012. The Arizona Department of Public Health used an express rulemaking process to incorporate the changes required by the Superior Court Ruling.
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