Republican lawmakers are also trying to alter the Arizona's Medical Marijuana Act and pushing for tougher measures for patients to get access to medical marijuana. The Republicans' proposals call for limited types of doctors who can prepare recommendations for medical marijuana. They also want to toughen the limitations of the patients who are qualified to receive the referrals and have existing patients secure new ones more often.
However, the Republicans' proposal is against the Arizona Constitution which states that the legislature cannot change a voter-approved initiatives. The Medical Marijuana Act currently includes about 88,000 qualified patients.
Representative Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) proposed for the removal of pregnant women from the list of qualified patients. Representative Jay Lawrence (R-Scottsdale) proposed the removal of doctors who practice alternative medicine including homeopathy and naturopath, leaving only osteopathy and medicine doctors to issue recommendations for medical marijuana.
According to the Arizona Department of Health report, over 87 percent of all recommendations for medical marijuana came from homeopaths and naturopaths within the budget year that started on July 1, 2015. Lawrence's proposal also includes that qualified patients should get a new referral every six months instead of just once a year.
Medical Marijuana In Illinois
Meanwhile, in Illinois, there are about 4,000 people qualified to obtain medical marijuana through dispensaries. Two months ago, medical cannabis trade became legal in the state and so far has generated over $1.7 million in sales.
However, the highly debated medical cannabis program is far from being called a successful endeavor just yet. Industry experts expressed that the current list should include more illnesses and health conditions that would determine who can purchase medical marijuana in Illinois.
"Unless more patients are added to the potential pool of people who can purchase medical cannabis, I'm not quite sure how the program will sustain itself," said Medical Cannabis Advisory Board co-chair Michael Fine whose experience with medical marijuana happened after a car accident that lost him an arm. Fine suffered from chronic residual limb pain and, after taking a series of narcotics, he wanted to try a holistic treatment for the pain.
Governor Bruce Rauner selected Fine as co-chair of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board who came up with a list of eight medical conditions to be added to the 40 conditions qualifying for medical cannabis. The Board's list included Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Unfortunately, Rauner turned down previous proposal similar to the Board's current pitch. This led medical marijuana advocates to turn to social media for support. They launched a social media campaign called "Approve the A8" wherein they share testimonies from patients who say medical marijuana help improve their life quality.
Photo: Dank Depot | Flickr