The Arizona Senate has diligently been working on SB1420. If passed by the legislature, this new law will ensure the cannabis sold is safer for consumption and patients that need cannabis can afford it. This is a huge relief for the medical marijuana community. Proponents of the legislation say the high price of medical marijuana cards has limited the number of patients that can afford to legally treat their conditions. In addition, the law passed in 2010 did not include any safety standards for cannabis and cannabis products. While the bill is a long way from becoming a law, the ideas it offers show just how far Arizona’s legislature has come since passing the program.
In the current program, patients who are eighteen years old can apply for a medical marijuana card. One simply takes the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Medical Marijuana Physician Certification form to the doctor. If the patient has one of the qualifying conditions that medical marijuana would be a suitable treatment for, the physician may fill out the certification form. Then, the patient submits online the ADHS Certification form, the registry identification card application, the ADHS Medical Marijuana Patient Attestation form, a current photo, a copy of a current ID, a copy of SNAP program participation, and the card fee.
If the applicant does not have a physician or his/her doctor does not prescribe marijuana treatment, the individual can go to another doctor like the ones in Green Dream Doctors cheap medical marijuana certification. They will evaluate the individual and fill out the ADHS certification form.
Proposed Fee Changes
The current card fee for individuals is $150. Those with proof of participation in the SNAP program may pay a reduced fee of $75. The card fee is not unreasonable. The problem is the medical marijuana card must be renewed yearly. For a renewal, the cardholder must resubmit the forms required for a medical marijuana card. That means paying for the physician to recertify the individual’s condition in addition to paying the card renewal fee.
For some cardholders, that puts the cost for a medical marijuana card out of reach, forcing patients to go without the relief found in marijuana treatment. The changes found in SB1420 would vastly lower the card fee. The rate for new applicants would be changed to $50, and renewals would be lowered to $25 a year. This would make medical marijuana a treatment possibility for a greater percent of the population.
Obstacles to Passing
The opposition to SB1420 feel that the fee changes to the state’s medical marijuana program would cost more than proponents realize. According to the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the program will cost the state $16,926,100 in 2018. At the current fee of $150, that is approximately 112,841 new applicants and renewals in order to break even. The changes would mean a minimum of 338,522 new members or 677,044 renewals. Currently, the program has 147,237 individuals and caregivers. The state may not be equipped (i.e. administration, police, laboratories, dispensaries, etc.) to handle that kind of growth in program participation.
One of the other changes is an inclusion of state standards for cannabis. Currently under the 2010 legislation, there are none. SB1420 would allow the Department of Health Services to establish quality standards. To enforce them, the ADHS would perform on-site inspections of marijuana dispensaries and caregiver cultivation areas. The ADHS would also require testing of cannabis and cannabis products for pesticides, heavy metals, chemicals, mold, and other contaminants. This would catch potentially dangerous edibles, oils, vapes, and plants before they reach consumers.
Additional Program Expenses
In order to cover the costs of the inspections and testing, the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee added an additional $2,000,000 to the Medical Marijuana Program’s Budget. This would be paid to the Department of Agriculture to certify testing labs and oversee the testing of cannabis and cannabis products. The apportionment to the Department of Agriculture would raise the program’s budget to $18,926,100. Under the current rate, it would require an increase of 13,334 program participants. The proposed $50/$25 fees would require an additional 40,000 new applicants or 80,000 renewals.
Consumer Cost Reductions
While waiting to see if the Arizona Legislature will go through with the bill, patients in need of medical marijuana treatment can find other ways of reducing the costs of obtaining a card. Unless the patient is on the SNAP program, there is not a way of reducing the actual card fee. However, program participants can look for doctors and treatment programs that offer cheaper rates, like Green Dream Doctors cheap medical marijuana certification.
The benefit of using this type of certification center is the application fee may be included with physician and administrative costs. Green Dream Doctors cheap medical marijuana certification program walks you through each step of the application process. The program helps patients fill out the online application and uploads their documents on the same day as their appointment.
For more information on affordably obtaining a medical marijuana card, contact Green Dream Doctors in person at 3001 W Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85017, or call 602-910-9628