Arizona Senate Panel OKs Plan to Clarify Medical-Pot Law

Originally appearing here. A bill that would pave the way for medical-marijuana research at Arizona’s universities, particularly to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, is advancing through the Legislature. The Senate Health and Human Services committee approved a bill Wednesday that changes the state’s medical-marijuana law, which currently bans medical pot on public university and college campuses. It also passed another bill that strictly prohibits marijuana dispensaries from packaging medical drugs as confectionery or candy, or labeling it in a way that might make it attractive to kids. Senate Bill 1443 clarifies a measure the governor signed into law last year. The proposal qualifies that, although the pot-on-campus ban is in place, the statute doesn’t prohibit public universities and other postsecondary schools from conducting medical-marijuana research on school grounds. Sara Presler, CEO and executive director of the Maricopa County Medical Society, a professional group that represents more than 2,600 physicians, said the bill would allow medical researchers to study the real effects of cannabis. “One of the most important things we can do is have real data to make public-policy decisions,” Presler said. “We don’t have the data. We don’t have the information we need to make good policy decisions.” A colleague of Dr. Sue Sisley, an assistant professor of psychiatry and internal research at the University of Arizona, told committee members that the current statute has impeded Sisley’s attempts to research the use of medical marijuana by veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder. Sisley had been expected to speak in favor of the bill, but the committee didn’t hear the issue until after 8:30 p.m. Senate Bill 1440 would require the Department of Health, which administers the state’s medial-marijuana program, to revoke the license of a dispensary that uses ambiguous packaging or advertising for its products. “We have an issue here in Arizona where there are products being made, such as brownies, cookies, lollipops that are packaged in a way that appeal to our youngest consumer,” said Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, the bill’s primary sponsor. “The dangerous part of this is these products contain marijuana.” Dispensaries would have to label packaging to make it clear the edible drug is only for medicinal purposes. Packaging could look similar to the U.S. surgeon general’s warning labels on cigarettes. Labeling currently is required to identify the amount of marijuana in the product. The American Civil Liberties Union said the language of the bill is too broad but does not take issue with its underlying aim of preventing kids from accidentally eating the drug. AZ Central explains how the Senate Health and Human Services committee of Arizona have approved a bill that would allow medical marijuana research to be conducted at university and college campuses in Arizona. Dr. Sue Sisley aims to conduct research at the University of Arizona, and has proposed a study into the potential benefits of using medical marijuana to treat PTSD. The study has received approval from all required entities except for the Drug Enforcement Agency and the National Institute of Drug Abuse, who continue to block the research.