Arizona Medical Marijuana Card Database Used Frequently by Cops and Employers
Under provisions in the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, the state Department of Health Services had to set up and maintain a computer list of registered patients and caregivers for the purpose of ensuring that patients don't get arrested if caught with pot by police.
The database, which now contains info on about 40,000 patients and caregivers, can't be searched by inputting names or addresses. Only a registration card number can be submitted for verification. Meaning law enforcement can’t look up people they might want to target.
So far 2,646 access accounts have been created for people to check on the validity of medical-marijuana cards. Police departments, sheriff's offices, and even federal outfits like the Border Patrol and ATF are among the agencies that have set up accounts. The DEA only has one account that it has not used. Of over 2,600 accounts, 851 are from the Phoenix Police Department.
The database is used by police to check the validity of the medical marijuana registration of someone they have just pulled over, for example. Employers use it to make sure their employees who test positive for marijuana are indeed legal patients.
Among the employers who have created accounts to check medical marijuana registration numbers are Arizona Game and Fish, Go Daddy, Swift Transportation and PetSmart.
The list also contains many drug-testing businesses. Chad Haas, spokesman for Complete Testing Solutions, says his company routinely validates medical-marijuana cards for employees who have been ordered to take a drug test by their employer. Haas says that it has been his experience that employers "are pretty lenient" about their card-holding employees unless the patient has a job that could involve danger to others, such as a bus driver.
Progress continues in Arizona despite the best efforts of the Governor and her Attorney General.
Arkansas Voters Likely to get a Chance to Vote on Medical Marijuana This Fall
An Arkansas initiative to legalize medical marijuana looks like it will qualify for the November ballot after supporters handed in 74,000 more signatures Monday. The group, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, needs 62,507 valid voter signatures to qualify and already has more than 36,000 qualified from a previous signature hand-in.
Which means they only need about 26,000 of the new 74,000 to be valid for the measure to make the ballot. Most ballot initiatives look for about a 50% success rate with valid signatures.
Melissa Fults, Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said the group had learned more about the process after handing in its first batch of signatures. During the second round, the group made sure volunteers and paid canvassers were careful when checking that signers were indeed registered to vote.
"I don't think there's much of a chance we won't" qualify for the ballot, Fults said.
Supporters should find out by next week whether or not they were successful.
The ballot measure itself – The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act - would allow patients suffering from certain medical conditions to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. It would allow for a system of state-licensed non-profit dispensaries, and would allow patients or their caregivers to grow their own only if they are not within five miles of a dispensary. In that case, patients could grow up to six flowering plants and patients would be allowed to possess up to 2 ½ ounces of marijuana.
It would be easy to dismiss this attempt as a nice first try in a bible belt state, but considering the ease with which supporters gathered signatures, the vote may be close this fall. Arkansas could be the tipping point when it comes to medical marijuana in the southeastern part of the country.
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