Marijuana for Medical Uses Now a Reality
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Marijuana for Medical Uses Now a Reality
Posted by CN Staff on April 16, 2011 at 15:54:04 PT
By Terry Ross
Source: Yuma Sun
Arizona -- A milestone occurred this week when the first medical marijuana card was issued by the state of Arizona. Thursday was the first day that Arizonans could apply online to the state Department of Health to be certified to buy, possess, use and in some cases grow marijuana to treat illnesses under a new state law approved by voters last fall.Although there were some technical glitches with the online system which applicants are required to use to obtain the identification cards that verify the right to legally use marijuana, the state health director announced he was pleased overall with how the law is being implemented.
According to a report from Capitol Media Services, the first person certified was a 60-year-old man with Crohn's Disease, an chronic gastrointestinal inflammatory disease that can cause pain, loss of appetite and other symptoms. Marijuana has been documented to increase appetite and help with pain.In order to be certified, applicants have to meet conditions established by the law and the health department, including a recommendation from a doctor that medical marijuana be provided.The goal of state health officials has been to implement the law in a way that would prevent “recreational” drug users from taking advantage of it, as some believe has happened in other states with medical marijuana laws.Arizona voters have repeatedly supported medical use of the drug. The law approved last year specifies certain diseases and chronic pain as reasons for using marijuana.State Health Director Will Humble said he was pleased that the first person certified here had a clearly legitimate reason to receive marijuana and that many of the applicants were older persons. Still, half of the initial applicants fell in the chronic pain category.It is the pain complaint that has often been abused in other states. Exposes has shown that patients - often younger people - in other states have walked into clinics and complained of pain and been quickly certified to use marijuana with a minimal examination. It is suspected that neither the complaint nor the doctor's agreement were legitimate in many cases.The reality is that Arizona's system, like all medical marijuana systems, could have some abuse. It is dependent on people being truthful and medical professionals being vigilant in their diagnosis. Other states have shown that isn't always the case.Still, Arizonans want people who need medical marijuana to have it. And based on projections of a representative of a nonprofit company applying to establish a marijuana dispensary in the Yuma area, it could involve a significant number of people.Susan Fuquay of SouthWest Health Associates estimated that there could be 3,000 potential patients in the city of Yuma and as many as 12,000 when the full county is included. But no one really knows for certain. The health director said it could be from 20,000 to 100,000 a year statewide, which is low if the Yuma County estimates are correct.One thing is certain, however, and that is that people are applying and being certified. Medical marijuana is now a reality in our state.The full impact on communities, individuals, businesses, public entities, law enforcement and the medical community remains to be seen, but we should begin to know in the coming months as the law in all its aspects is implemented.Terry Ross is director of the Yuma Sun's News and Information Center. Source: Sun, The (Yuma, AZ)Author: Terry RossPublished: March 16, 2011Copyright: 2011 The SunWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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