Speak Up!

A May 25 hearing will help decide whether PTSD and other afflictions are added to the state's MMJ qualifying-conditions list

A couple of weeks ago, I saw two people fucking like wild animals on a bench at Himmel Park in the middle of the night.

It was one of those That Just Happened moments that passed quickly through my hippocampus and was permanently burned into long-term memory. The incident is apropos of nothing, except maybe that some people have all the luck, and where there's a will, there's a way.

The same could be said for Arizona doctors trying to get illnesses added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Back in January, the state took applications for the addition of qualifying illnesses. Four have made the first cut—post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, migraines and depression—which basically means the state found that the petitioners offered evidence that the illnesses impair, and that cannabis provides relief.

There is a lot of evidence out there that MMJ helps all of these conditions, each of which appears on existing or pending MMJ legislation in other states. The nation's newest approved MMJ bill, which the governor of Connecticut has said he will sign, includes PTSD, and the Food and Drug Administration approved a clinical trial last year for a doctor to further test cannabis for treating PTSD. (The Drug Enforcement Administration shot down that request by not allowing the doctor access to legal MMJ.)

Now that the state has evidence on the proposed new qualifying conditions, some of which can be found on the state Department of Health Services website (azdhs.gov/medicalmarijuana/debilitating/index.htm), there will be a public hearing to take comment. The hearing is set for Friday, May 25, in Phoenix, and Mr. Smith plans to be there. I urge you to go, too, especially if you have one of these conditions. We need patients to show up en masse to school the DHS in the real-world benefits of MMJ. Pack the room. Tell the state what's what.

The hearing will be held at the State Laboratory Services office, 250 N. 17th Ave. From 1 to 2:30 p.m., the focus is on PTSD. From 2:30 to 4 p.m., the topics are depression, migraines and generalized anxiety disorder.

In Other News

Another important decision came down this month concerning MMJ in the great state of Arizona.

A May 8 ruling from Maricopa County Superior Court Judge J. Richard Gama basically tosses an attempt to allow dispensaries to open without medical directors. The ruling stems from a case filed last year challenging the rules for dispensary operators. The plaintiffs more or less won that case earlier this year, forcing the state to let up on the choke chain around the necks of dispensary operators. After that challenge was decided, and the rules were loosened, the plaintiffs, including the Phoenix dispensary hopeful Compassion First LLC, tried to file an amendment challenging yet another rule—that each dispensary have a medical director.

Too late, Compassion First. You should have thought of that in the first place.

"The time to add a car to this train was before it left the station, not as it was arriving at its destination," Gama said in his latest ruling. He went on to say the defendants would be prejudiced by the late attack, and the public would be harmed by further delays in implementing the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

Why would you not want a medical director at a dispensary? Yes, it will cost dispensaries money to hire them. Yes, it might be tough to find enough doctors willing to staff every dispensary. But it seems to me like another way to keep federal agents from smashing locks off of your dispensary doors and carting off computers, records, meds and, maybe, people.

Mr. Smith approves.

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