Monday, June 13, 2011

Designated Caregiver – Second Category of Protected Cardholders Potentially Among Your Employees

I have explored how your employees can become Qualified Patients (QPs) licensed by the state to use and possess marijuana for medical purposes.  QPs are only one of three categories potentially among your employees who (someday, when the federal-state dispute is resolved) may be Cardholders protected from workplace discrimination under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).  Another category, potentially out there now, is the Designated Caregiver (DC).  A.R.S. § 36-2801(5) defines the term.

DCs lawfully can possess medical marijuana and can assist the QPs in the use of medical marijuana, including cultivating it for QPs who are licensed to grow their own.  A DC must be 21 years of age and have no conviction for an excluded felony offense.

Excluded felonies include all classified as violent, meaning any either resulting in death or physical injury, committed with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.  Also excluded are all felony drug offenses, except those for which the DC completed serving the sentence more than 10 years ago and those which would have been immunized under the AMMA.

A DC can be reimbursed for the actual costs of the services provided to the QP, but cannot be paid any fee or other compensation.  The DC’s receipt of reimbursement of the actual costs for his services to a QP, however, is immunized from criminal liability.

As of June 9, 2011, only 126 DCs had been licensed as protected Cardholders by the Arizona Department of Health Services.  I predict, however, that these numbers will be growing significantly in the months ahead, for reasons I will explore in future posts.

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