Monday, July 23, 2012

Humble Wonʼt Grant Any New Conditions

As Arizoneout predicted in the July 16, 2012 post, the University of Arizona (UA) evidence review gave Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director Will Humble all the justification he needed to deny the four petitions seeking to add debilitating medical conditions whose sufferers can become certified cannabis users under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).

Humble announced his decision to deny all four petitions on Thursday, July 19, 2012, just two days after ADHSʼ Medical Advisory Committee issued its recommendation that he do so.  Based on the UA medical reviews, the committee concluded:  "Because marijuana has not been subjected to any high quality, scientifically controlled testing for any of the petitioned conditions, we find no convincing evidence that marijuana provides a benefit."

If I were on the side of the medical marijuana advocates, I would be arguing that Humble and his committee set an impossibly high standard for the evidence reviews because of the difficulty in getting approval for solid scientific research from the federal government, which is the only legal source of pot for research use.  The argument would be that by the standards set, the current debilitating medical conditions that the voters authorized would not get approval under those standards either.  Thus, Humble, an opponent of the AMMA before it was approved by voter initiative in November 2010, applied the wrong standard, one that frustrated the votersʼ will.

As we have seen already , the earliest judicial opinions on the AMMA have been deferential to the voters in construing the law and in limiting the discretion of ADHS to enact rules and policies that run contrary to what the voters intended.

Petitioners to add post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorder and migraine headaches have lost round 1.  Arizoneout is confident there will be many rounds to come.  Whatʼs more, ADHS will accept the next set of petitions for a week starting today.

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