A bill at the Arizona Legislature would mandate state-regulated testing for medical cannabis, lower patient registration fees, and make other improvements to the 2010 law.
Arizona rips off medical-marijuana patients by collecting fees that are much higher than what it costs for the state Department of Health Services to run the program.
Last year, for instance, DHS could have funded its $11.7 million in expenditures by collecting $5.7 million from patients. Instead, the state agency collected $18.9 million from them. The extra money went into a useless overflow account that now sits at more than $33 million.
“I wish I would have thought about writing the rule to include a variable fee.” — Former Arizona DHS Director Will Humble
A bill co-sponsored by nearly the entire Legislature, Senate Bill 1420, would change the equation. It would bring down the cost of a medical marijuana card from $150 a year to something more reasonable — something lower-income or fixed-income people could afford.
For many people, the best part is that it would also mandate state-regulated testing for mold and other contaminants in medical marijuana.
But would the bill trade the state program’s high annual surpluses for annual deficits that could end up costing taxpayers?