Arizona: Medical Marijuana Upgrade in 2018?

Arizona, state flag

Arizona voters were not very enthusiastic several weeks ago about passing an initiative to make marijuana fully legal, which now has some pot proponents on a wild-eyed mission to strengthen the state’s medical marijuana program by putting an expansion proposal in front of folks in 2018.

A report from the Arizona Daily Star suggests that a local medical-marijuana dispensary by the name of Independent Wellness Center is in the process of putting together an initiative to expand the state’s list of qualified conditions. The proposal will also address various other aspects of the current medical marijuana law, including home cultivation, which many claim does not go far enough to help the majority of the state’s patients.

As it stands, Arizona’s medical-marijuana law is one of the most comprehensive to be found in the entire nation. Its list of qualified conditions include all of the usual suspects typically spotted in a program of this nature, not to mention the inclusion of key conditions like “chronic pain” and “post traumatic stress disorder.”

But supporters of the latest initiative argue that the language of the law is not good enough to provide patients with hassle-free access to the medicine they need. It is for this reason that they are pushing to amend a current stipulation that forces patients to provide doctors with a year’s worth of medical records before they can be renewed for participation.

“We have a lot of patients that once they get on medical marijuana they no longer start seeing their physician any more because it worked,” Timothy Cronin, the initiative’s campaign chairman, told the Star.

Home cultivation is another element of the state’s medical marijuana program that is in desperate need of change. As of now, the law will not permit patients to grow their own medicine unless they reside 25 miles away from a dispensary. The initiative would reduce that to a mile—allowing almost every patient to start a home grow.

While the opposition behind legal weed proved to be a rabid force to be reckoned with during the fight to pass Proposition 205, organizers of the latest initiative say they are not too concerned about facing the same adversity. This is because some of the same people, who fought against the legalization of a recreational sector, including Governor Doug Ducey, support the herb as long as it is defined as “for medical purposes.”

The Independent Wellness Center will need to secure more than 150,000 signatures before July 2018 in order to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.

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