PHOENIX, AZ – House Health Committee in Arizona voted 6-3 on House Bill 2067 last February 18, 2018. HB 2067 is proposed to criminally charge doctors who fail to comply with the full medical exam before issuing a prescription required for a patient to obtain marijuana.
Failure to observe such due diligence will land a physician up to 1 year of imprisonment. Moreover, similar charges will also be imposed to doctors who neglected to review at least 1 year of medical records prior to prescribing medicinal marijuana to patients.
Patients who obtain from the state medical marijuana cards allow them to buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every couple of weeks.
According to Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, the author of House Bill 2067, majority of the patients who are prescribed with medical marijuana cards are not suffering from serious medical conditions. She cited state figures that only 3 percent of patients got the prescription for cancer and 2 percent for PTSD.
Polk maintains that almost 85 percent of the patients receive their prescription for chronic pain, far more than the majority number. Moreover, the bulk of these patients are men. According to her, one of the problems lie on the age bracket of medicinal marijuana patients, which is ranging from 18-30 years old. Polk believes that it is rather too early for chronic pain to be experienced by the patients who are in the age range.
Polk mentioned that she hears a lot from the parents who are very frustrated because their son has turned 18. Their kids would visit what are called ‘pot docs,’ and thirty minutes later, they would walk out with that recommendation.
Polk also adds that House Bill 2067 is a de facto recreational marijuana program.
She further argued that receiving medicinal marijuana may as well tantamount to people legally obtaining cannabis.
On the other hand, Polk received slashing criticisms and rebuttals from Rep. Pamela Powers Hanley, D-Tucson. Power Hanley hammered Polk’s claim that patients have no legitimate reason to consume marijuana.
She argued that just because a man is young, it doesn’t follow that he doesn’t experience chronic pain. She also added that the issue being tackeld is a medicinal plant that has been safely used for centuries, and that she doesn’t see the point behind the attempt to overregulate it.
On another note, Rep. Kelli Butler, D-Paradise Valley, while against recreational marijuana, said that he does agree that there’s a serious need for it, medically speaking. She also noted that she is opposed to the idea of prosecuting physicians who are merely doing their job.
Currently, there is an existing law sanctioning physicians who deviated from the rules on prescribing marijuana by forfeiting their license. Meanwhile, in the new law, an additional felony charge will be imposed.
Meanwhile, Hanley said that the issue seems to her a solution seeking a problem. She added that there are already sanctions on physicians who do not ahere to the law, so there’s no reason to add to the regulation.
House Bill 2067 is pending approval of the full House prior its promulgation.