The Arizona medical marijuana program had a birthday recently, wobbling into the terrible twos on shaky legs, clutching a fistful of lawsuits in one hand and leaning up against a couple of judges for balance.
The list of lawsuits over cannabis continues to grow, but so does the number of patients, albeit slowly. There are problems, to be sure, such as the state's continued cock-blocking on extracts that has dispensaries wary of selling cannabis wax or oil, but ultimately I think the second annual report from the esteemed Mr. Humble, overseer of the program, is good news.
Much was made in the (other) media about the fact that 25 doctors did 70 percent of all 40,000-ish certifications thus far. Big f*cking deal, says I. How many doctors performed heart transplants in Arizona last year? I'm guessing a tiny handful of doctors did all of them. I think the state might need to get a handle on these heart-transplant mills.
The reason a small handful of doctors did most of the cannabis certifications is simple—most doctors are cowering in fear about cannabis. My own physician, who has treated me for numerous ailments for the past decade, was afraid to sign my papers. So I wound up across a desk from one of the bolder, more compassionate doctors who isn't playing chickenshit games with my health care. I hope the state will just leave well enough alone and let me talk to my doctor. I don't really need them to get in the way.
The annual report only contains numbers through July, but the state's latest numbers go through Oct. 2. We had 40,328 patients statewide that day, of which just 43 were children.
I suspect that number will rise in the coming year, if only because of childhood epilepsy and the amazingly effective CBD strains that treat it. Over the summer, Sanjay Gupta profiled a child in Colorado whose seizures were all but eliminated by cannabis, and she was taken off of a score or so of medications.
Now Arizona parents are coming onboard. A Phoenix couple recently sued to get access to extracts to treat their son, and I know of a local family that has been treating their son with cannabis. So I hope that by next year, there are hundreds of parents turning to cannabis, which is apparently a more effective treatment for severe epilepsy than traditional pharmacopoeia.
My favorite statistic in the latest annual report is dispensary agents.
For $500, you can be background-cleared and moral turpitude-tested and then certified as a dispensary agent, which qualifies you for dispensary jobs. I think it's pretty freakin' awesome that 805 people are presumably working in dispensaries. When Apple announced recently that it was bringing 700 jobs to a factory in Mesa, the collective media nipples got hard and their panties got all wet. It was big news.
But there doesn't seem to be much discussion about cannabis jobs. Most of these dispensaries are paying good wages—$12 to start at one that I know of. Lets hope that number keeps rising. Tell your friends to get a medical card and start shopping. The convenience alone is worth the $250 for a patient card. Support local businesses.
The annual report also shows that the number of patients authorized to grow is plummeting. Last year, about 80 percent of patients could grow. Now it's down to about half, and it will keep dropping as patients renew and lose their authorization to grow because of the 25-mile rule. It will be interesting to see what happens to these grows.
I suspect a lot of them will just stay right where they are after the growers lose the privilege. You can't unfuck a girl, after all. Once you go there, it's done, so I think the patient-grow girl will remain fucked, and I think she will be thoroughly satisfied, because I think most of these growers will keep right on fucking her, whether the state says they can or not.
So anyway, the state MMJ program is 2 years old, and there are some teething pains and a few bumps and bruises from falling down and getting back up. For a while I though the program was never going to learn to crawl, let alone walk.
It's nice to see it toddling along.