Patients and caregivers who have violated Arizona’s new medical marijuana law since receiving a card — or who lied about their histories when applying for one — could soon see their cards revoked, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Two patients have already had their cards revoked, health officials said on Tuesday, but because of a confidentiality clause in the law approved by Arizona voters two years ago, they couldn’t specifically say why the cards were revoked, reports Yvonne Wingett Sanchez at The Arizona Republic.
Cards are typically taken away if the cops notify health officials of an arrest tied to buying or selling medical marijuana; Arizona’s law doesn’t allow for sales outside of dispensaries — which, due to foot dragging by Gov. Jan Brewer and Atty. Gen. Tom Horne, still aren’t open, almost two years after the law was approved by voters.
Instead, patients are only allowed to give marijuana to each other, receiving nothing of value in return.
Another reason medical marijuana cards can be revoked is if patients fail to “properly secure” their growing plants in a locked facility.
Officials have taken away the cards of two caregivers, and are reviewing the histories of 10 others. Caregivers typically grow marijuana for others, as well as for themselves.
According to Tom Salow, a rules administrator for the Arizona DHS, all 10 of those caregivers could soon lose their marijuana cards as well, because they either failed to disclose a violent crime history on their applications, or they have violated “certain drug laws.”
The agency has fallen behind in revoking the cards, Salow said, because officials must research the backgrounds of applicants.
Arizona DHS Director Will Humble claimed the agency will catch up soon on the backlog and process future cases more quickly. Outside attorneys will soon be hired with fees generated from the medical marijuana program itself, he said.
Under Arizona’s medical marijuana law, patients with certain debilitating medical conditions, including chronic pain, cancer and muscle spasms, can be authorized by their physician to use medicinal cannabis. At that point, they are required to register with the state, which issues the marijuana ID cards.