Medical Marijuana Controversy Continues in Arizona

In 2010, Arizona voters approved The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The Act requires the Arizona Department of Health Services to periodically accept and evaluate petitions for new medical conditions that would be covered by the Act.

Last month, State Health Director Will Humble struck down petitions to include, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and migraines. Humble did not see, based on supporting scientific evidence, that there was any need to add the above mentioned disorders. Humble is expected to decide whether sleeping disorders and skin conditions meet the qualifications for medical marijuana treatment within the next few months.

At the same time, 13 Arizona county attorneys are requesting that Gov. Jan Brewer halt the current medical marijuana program, citing violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act.  Attorney Sheila Polk of Yavapai County authored the letter provided to Gov. Brewer, which asserts the county attorneys’ belief that Arizona’s law causes state employees to facilitate federal crimes when they issue licenses to marijuana dispensaries. 

Arizona’s newly appointed U.S. Attorney, John Leonardo, has been quoted by Polk as saying that he “fully intends to prevent any dispensaries from operating in Arizona by seizing each and every one as it opens and commits violations.” Meanwhile, Gov. Brewer has stated “I am duty-bound to implement the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, and my agency will do so unless and until I am instructed otherwise.”