Arizona Sets The Stage For Medical Marijuana Legalization


Graphic: Reality Catcher

‚ÄčIt’s about five weeks until Election Day, and the Arizona Department of Health Services is brainstorming ways to implement a medical marijuana policy in case voters approve Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

The department has spoken out against Prop 203, reports Michelle Ye Hee Lee of The Arizona Republic. But if the measure passes, the department will need to draft an administrative code for implementation and set up an electronic verification system to keep track of records, including doctor authorizations, dispensary applications and cardholder registrations.

It will be a challenge for the health department to be ready in 120 days, as outlined in the proposition. The department has recently experienced budget and staff cuts.
The department will need to figure out how to delegate the duties, the Republic reports.
Likely responsible for issuing medical marijuana records will be the Office of Vital Records, because it already has a record keeping system that can handle high volumes of records, according to DHS Director Will Humble.
Legislative budget analysts have estimated about 66,000 patients would register for medical marijuana cards by the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
But Humble said that if Prop 203 passes, as many as 100,000 Arizonans could be registered for medical marijuana cards by 2013.
The Office of Environmental Health would likely establish dispensary regulation, according to the Republic.