Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 30, 2012


Host: Ted Simons

Expanding Medical Marijuana


  • The Arizona Department of Health Services recently took public testimony about adding debilitating medical conditions to the state‚Äôs medical marijuana program. ADHS Director Will Humble provides an update.
Guests:
  • Will Humble - Director, The Arizona Department of Health Services
Category: Medical/Health   |   Keywords: medical, marijuana, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT RECENTLY HEARD FROM THOSE WHO WANT TO ADD DEPRESSION, ANXIETY AND OTHER MEDICAL CONDITIONS TO THE LIST OF DISORDERS COVERED BY THE STATE'S MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM. HERE WITH MORE ON THAT AND OTHER MEDICAL MARIJUANA ISSUES IS WILL HUMBLE, DIRECTOR OF THE ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES. GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

Will Humble: THANK YOU FOR THE INVITATION.

Ted Simons: SO THIS IDEA OF EXTENDING CONDITIONS, WHAT'S THIS ALL ABOUT?

Will Humble: THIS WAS A LITTLE KNOWN ASPECT OF THE LAW THAT PEOPLE VOTED INTO LAW NOVEMBER 10TH WHICH REQUIRES US TO HEAR PETITIONS FROM THE PUBLIC TO ADD NEW DEBILITATING MEDICAL CONDITIONS PERIODICALLY. OUR FIRST ROUND OF PETITIONS ACTUALLY WENT IN IN JANUARY. WE HAD OUR HEARINGS LAST WEEK AND WE HAVE ANOTHER, SAY, MONTH OR SO TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WHETHER TO ADD THESE NEW MEDICAL CONDITIONS OR TO WAIT PENDING FURTHER EVIDENCE.

Ted Simons: AND, AGAIN, ANXIETY, POST TRAUMATIC STRESS, DEPRESSION, MIGRAINES?

Will Humble: RIGHT AND DEPRESSION, GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER, MIGRAINES AND PTSD.

Ted Simons: IF ONE OR ALL OF THOSE ARE INCLUDED ON THE LIST AT A LATER DATE, CAN ONE OR ALL OF THOSE BE REMOVED?

Will Humble: NO, AND THAT'S AN INTERESTING POINT WHICH IS THIS IS PRETTY MUCH A ONE-WAY STREET, WHICH IS ONE OF THE REASONS I WANT TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT ADDING NEW MEDICAL CONDITIONS, BECAUSE ONCE A DIRECTOR OF THIS AGENCY ADDS A NEW MEDICAL CONDITION, IT'S THERE FOR GOOD. THERE'S NO PETITION PROCESS IN THE LAW TO PULL CONDITIONS OUT. I WANT TO MAKE SURE THERE'S GOOD WEIGHT OF MEDICAL EVIDENCE BEFORE WE ADD ANY OF THE MEDICAL CONDITIONS. WE'VE GOTTEN A LOT OF PUBLIC COMMENT, SOME OF WHICH HAS ACTUAL RESEARCH STUDIES TIED TO IT SO THERE IS SOME EVIDENCE BUT I WANT TO MAKE SURE I'M DOING MY DUE DILIGENCE AND LOOKING AT GOOD, SOUND SCIENCE.

Ted Simons: WHAT DID YOU HEAR REGARDING THE PROS AND THE CONS REGARDING EXTENDED DISORDERS?

Will Humble: THE WRITTEN COMMENTS WE'VE GOTTEN IN THROUGH THE WEB SITE AND THE MAIL HAVE BEEN MORE SORT OF SCIENTIFIC WHERE THEY'RE ESTABLISHING SOME STUDIES THAT MAY HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED HERE OR THERE AT THE HEARING WE HAD LAST WEEK, IT WAS MORE SORT OF ANECDOTAL STORIES THAT FOLKS TOLD WHERE MARIJUANA HAD HELPED THEM OR THEIR SPOUSE WITH ONE OF THESE KINDS OF MEDICAL CONDITIONS, PTSD OR MIGRAINES AND THOSE SORTS THINGS, SO YOU KNOW, IT'S COMPELLING EVIDENCE TO SIT AND LISTEN TO THOSE KINDS OF STORIES BUT IT'S NOT THE FULL RANGE OF SCIENCE THAT I'M LOOKING FOR, YOU KNOW TO ACTUALLY ADD A MEDICAL CONDITION. BUT WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT THE FULL PUBLIC RECORD. YOU KNOW, I WANT TO LOOK AT ALL THE EVIDENCE BEFORE I MAKE UP MY MIND.

Ted Simons: AND THOSE AGAINST EXPANDING THE LIST, WHAT DID THEY HAVE TO SNAPE.

Will Humble: THERE WERE ALL OF THESE COUPLE CHARACTERS THERE. YOU KNOW, THE ROOM WAS PRETTY WELL STACKED WITH FOLKS THAT REALLY WANTED TO ADD MEDICAL CONDITIONS SO THE COUPLE GUYS THAT WERE THERE, LELAND FAIRBANKS WAS ONE, YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD HIM ON THE SHOW --

Ted Simons: SURE, SURE.
Will Humble: -- HE'S QUITE A CHARACTER. HE HAD THE GUTS TO GO. NOT MANY VERY OTHER PEOPLE DID.

Ted Simons: THEIR CONCERN WAS SAFETY ISSUES AND MAYBE UNDERLYING CONDITIONS THAT MIGHT BE MASKED BY MARIJUANA? THESE SORTS OF THINGS?

Will Humble: RIGHT, SO ONE OF THE CONSIDERATIONS IS WHEN YOU ADD A MEDICAL CONDITION, LET'S SAY IT'S PTSD OR LET'S SAY IT'S DEPRESSION, YOU CAN GIVE THE IMPRESSION TO FOLKS IT'S AN ACTUAL FIRST-LINE TREATMENT FOR THAT MEDICAL CONDITION, SO TAKE DEPRESSION, FOR EXAMPLE, LET'S SAY WE ADDED DEPRESSION. YOU KNOW, I STILL MIGHT, UM, BUT IF WE WERE TO ADD THAT, PEOPLE MIGHT THINK, WELL, INSTEAD OF GOING TO MY PSYCHIATRIST OR SEEKING HELP, I'M GOING TO JUST GET A MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD BECAUSE I'M UNINSURED OR FOR WHATEVER REASON AND THINK THAT'S A FRONT-LINE TREATMENT AND THEN GET MORE DEPRESSED BECAUSE ALL IT REALLY DOES IS MASK THE SYMPTOMS TEMPORARILY. THEN YOU MIGHT END UP WITH A TRAGIC SUICIDE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT THAT WAS PREVENTABLE HAD THE PERSON SOUGHT THE RIGHT KIND OF PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT SO I WANT TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT THIS IS A FRONT-LINE TREATMENT THAT WORKS UNLESS THERE'S FULL MEDICAL EVIDENCE THAT IT IS.

Ted Simons: AGAIN, THE JULY DECISION THERE?

Will Humble: MID-JULY, RIGHT.

Ted Simons: ALL RIGHT. IN MID-AUGUST OR EARLY AUGUST OR SOMETHING THIS WHOLE DISPENSARY THING IS SO COMPLICATED. YOUR DEADLINE WAS FRIDAY, RIGHT?

Will Humble: RIGHT.

Ted Simons: AS FAR AS APPLICATIONS?

Will Humble: RIGHT.

Ted Simons: HOW MANY FOLKS APPLIED TO BE TO BECOME MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSERS?

Will Humble: ALMOST 500. 483 APPLICANTS FOR EACH ONE OF THESE 126 ZONES WE HAVE, CALL IT COMMUNITY HEALTH ANALYSIS AREAS AROUND THE STATE. WE SET ASIDE, OH A DOZEN OR SO FOR THE TRIBAL AREAS AND WE DIDN'T GET ANY APPLICATIONS THERE. SO THERE WERE SOME AREAS OF THE STATE WHERE WE GOT NO APPLICATIONS. SO WE'RE PROBABLY LOOKING AT AWARDING BETWEEN 90 AND 100 DISPENSARY APPLICATIONS ON AUGUST 2ND. SOME OF THE AREAS WERE VERY COMPETITIVE LIKE AROUND ASU, U OF A, NAU, SHOW LOW FOR SOME REASON WAS A COMPETITIVE AREA AND THERE WERE OTHER PARTS OF THE STATE LIKE SUN CITY WHERE THERE WAS JUST ONE APPLICATION AND SO FOR AREAS LIKE SUN CITY, IF THAT PERSON'S APPLICATION IS COMPLETE AND GOOD, THEY'RE GOING TO GET THE APPLICATION -- BUT FOR AROUND ASU, I DON'T KNOW, 13 OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, THERE'LL BE A RANDOM SELECTION ON AUGUST 7TH. ONLY ONE OF THEM WILL GET THE AWARD.

Ted Simons: IT'S BASICALLY A LOTTERY, ISN'T IT?

Will Humble: WE BOUGHT THE MACHINES. I DON'T THINK WE'VE GOT THEM YET IN HOUSE BUT THEY ARE THE FLOATING BALL MACHINES.

Ted Simons: OH MY GOODNESS. GOING TELEVISE IT?

Will Humble: WE'LL GO LIVE VIDEO STREAM, YEAH.

Ted Simons: ALL RIGHT, AUGUST 7TH COMES, 126 DISTRICTS AROUND THE STATE, AM I CORRECT ON THAT?

Will Humble: THAT'S RIGHT.

Ted Simons: EVERYONE SET, WHEN AUGUST 8TH HAPPENS, WHAT? DOES THE MARIJUANA START FLOWING OUT? WHAT IS THE TIMING?

Will Humble: WHAT THEY GET THEN IS A REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE THAT ALLOWS THEM TO BUILD OUT THEIR DISPENSARY, OK? AND HOWEVER LONG IT TAKES IS UP TO THEM. THEY COULD CALL US FOR A FINAL INSPECTION WHICH IS WHEN THEY'LL GET THEIR OPERATING PERMIT WHEN EVERYTHING'S IN ORDER. WE'LL DO A CHECKLIST TO MAKE THE INVENTORY CONTROL BUSINESS PLAN, THE I.T. SYSTEM, MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS IN ORDER. WHEN IT IS, WE'LL GIVE THEM THEIR ACTUAL LICENSE. WE'RE PROBABLY LOOKING AT THE FIRST DISPENSARIES OPENING LABOR DAYISH.

Ted Simons: OK, LAST QUESTION, IS THE PROGRAM PAYING FOR ITSELF? IT SOUNDS LIKE 500 APPLICANTS, THEY ALL HAVE TO SPEND SOMETHING LIKE $5,000 OR SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES?

Will Humble: YES.

Ted Simons:THEY'RE NOT GETTING IT ALL BACK, ARE THEY?

Will Humble: NO. WE GOT MORE APPLICATIONS THAN I ANTICIPATED. I ASKED MY FINANCIAL STAFF TO LOOK INTO WHAT WAS THE REVENUE STREAM? IT WAS UP TO CLOSE TO $2 MILLION IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS FOR THESE APPLICATIONS. WE HAVE $1 MILLION OR SO IN THE BANK FROM THE CARDS WE SET THE RULES RIGHT NOW STATE IT'LL BE $1,000 REFUND FOR ANYONE WHO DOESN'T GET A LICENSE. WE'RE LOOKING INTO WHETHER WE CAN EXPAND THAT A LITTLE BIT THROUGH THE REGULATIONS. DO IT LEGALLY, BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING SQUARE, YOU KNOW? I DIDN'T ANTICIPATE 500 APPLICATIONS AND $2 MILLION IN REVENUE. IT'S MORE THAN I THOUGHT WE'D GET.

Ted Simons: INTERESTING. YOU HAVE A BUSY SUMMER AHEAD OF YOU. GOOD STUFF. GOOD INFORMATION. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

Will Humble: THANKS.

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