Arizona has again denied expanding the state’s medical marijuana program. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the denial comes as a group gathers signatures to put recreational legalization on Arizona’s 2014 ballot.
The advocacy group, Safer Arizona, is trying to gather more than 300,000 signatures by July in order to qualify for the November 2014 vote. The proposal would amend the Arizona state constitution to legalize regulated, recreational marijuana in the state. The attempt echoes voter-approved initiatives in Colorado and Washington State, both of which recently went into effect.
Meanwhile, this week the Department of Health Services rejected a proposal to expand the medical conditions by which Arizonans can legally obtain marijuana. The agency’s director, Will Humble, who had previously rejected adding new conditions, said cancer and chronic pain would remain the only acceptable conditions for obtaining a medical marijuana card. Advocates of expanding the list presented a petition to add post-traumatic stress disorder, migraines and depression. Humble’s reasoning for the rejection was a lack of published scientific data on marijuana’s effects on newly proposed conditions.
The state will again accept new petitions to expand the program during the last week of January.
Voters passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act in 2010 and patients began applying for ID cards under the law in 2011.