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Arizona bill would penalize physicians who don't follow pot laws

While medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, there are rules physicians must follow when it comes to prescribing it. Recently, a measure was passed by the Arizona House Health Committee regarding medical marijuana. Under House Bill 2067, if a physician did not follow state rules regarding the prescription of medical marijuana, then that physician will be charged with a felony. If convicted, they could be incarcerated for up to 12 months. As it stands right now, if a physician does not follow state rules regarding the prescription of medical marijuana, they will be disciplined by the medical board and could lose their license to practice medicine. This bill passed the House Health Committee six to three. Next, the measure will go through a standard constitutional review, and then move on to the whole House.

Proponents of the bill say that physicians aren't following current law. Under the current law, they must maintain a physician-patient relationship with the people to whom they prescribe medical marijuana, and they must perform a review of the person's medical history along with records going back 12 months. Those who support the bill say that the current law has no "teeth." It is only through a physician that a person can submit an application for a state card that would permit them to buy and use medical marijuana.

However, those who oppose the measure believe that physicians are already penalized enough by the medical board and to charge them with a felony is too harsh. One representative stated that the medical marijuana industry was already regulated enough. Others who are opposed to the measure note that the United States as a nation is starting to become more in favor of legalizing marijuana.

Time will tell whether this bill will become law. Until then, current law stands and physicians who do not follow the state rules regarding the prescription of medical marijuana will be disciplined by the medical board but will not face drug charges. Some would say that losing their license to practice medicine is punishment enough, but others disagree. If a person in Arizona has questions about this bill and how it might affect them if it is passed, they may want to discuss the matter with a legal professional.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Arizona House Panel OKs Felony for Rule-Breaking Pot Doctors," Feb. 15, 2018

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