Arizona has legalized medical marijuana, joining fifteen other states across the country that allow marijuana use for health purposes. A system of cultivation and dispensaries will be operative by late summer 2011, with all plants grown in-state. 125 dispensaries are allowed in the new law, and dispensaries must be located at least 500 feet from schools. Only chronic conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma will be initially open for prescriptions, though this can change through public petition. Law enforcement in the state has been almost unanimously against the measure, which is no surprise, even if it is a badly misguided position.
The state health department worries how they will pay for the initial program set-up which could cost as much as $800,000. I suppose they will be able to recoup the costs through taxes and licensing fees and so-forth, but I wonder also where the money will come from initially. The state is strapped for cash. Nevertheless, I’m counting this as good news both in the war on drugs and for people who will benefit from a safe, legal way to obtain marijuana for medical purposes.