As the holiday weekend came and went, this week was a bit slow when it came to cannabis progress in Arizona. With so much progress that has been made, the break was well-deserved.
Still, that isn’t to say NOTHING has happened within the past week. Though there were no strides made in legal cannabis, there has been some changes made to the medical industry.
Throughout this article, we’re going to take a deeper look into these changes.
Arizona Medical Cannabis Cards Will Become Electronic
Starting on December 1st, 2019, anyone who receives a medical marijuana patients card in Arizona will have it issued in an electronic form. However, these cards aren’t only limited to new patients as prior patients in need of a renewal will also find themselves receiving an electronic verification.
“AZDHS will emails patients of the changes to how cards are issued. Information will be available to follow up with the new process. The website will be updated with information soon.”Arizona Department of Health Services
The new change may come as a surprise – and, potentially, inconvenience – to some. For patients who prefer their physical medical marijuana card, you’ll have the option to print out a digital form that’s presentable at all dispensaries.
However, the overall goal of going digital is to make things easier for patients. A digital card will allow updates or changes of information to be accessed from a cell phone or laptop – rather than going through the printing process all over again.
No laws have changed in terms of medical marijuana cards. If you’re approved, you’ll still receive one for a two year period.
New Steps Taken Towards Banning Chemicals from Medical Marijuana
Sonny Borrelli, Arizona senator, desire to ban the use of certain chemicals found within medical marijuana. Under SB 1494, a bill that Borrelli has been advocating for, all medical marijuana will be required to test for various contaminants, such as herbicides, pesticides, and other toxins.
The bill was approved last session and the testing will commence no later than November 1st, 2020.
A section of the bill SB 1439 reads:
…marijuana and marijuana products for medical use to determine unsafe levels of microbial contamination, heavy metals, herbicides, fungicides, growth regulators, and residual solvents and confirm the potency of the marijuana.
In order to ensure these chemicals don’t reach the final product, Borrelli plants to ban specific chemicals that may currently be used during the cultivation process. However, he also believes there will be flaws when it comes to testing regulations.
The cannabis industry remains a very new frontier and without adequate studies looking into the plant, it’s difficult for lawmakers to develop rules and regulations surrounding this wild west industry.
To take things further, those who will be in charge of the testing are a number of “Arizona cannabis industry professionals.” In other words, people running the current medical business. Borrelli fears this may lead to bias in testing protocols.
To get an idea of what chemicals to ban, Borrelli is looking primarily towards the tobacco industry. Eagle 20, a fungicide, is a chemical that’s already prohibited due to its carcinogenic levels.
“But there’s nothing to prevent them from using it [Eagle 20] in marijuana. [In turn, medical marijuana patients may be] taking something that could possible make them sicker.”Sonny Borrelli