State could limit expanded medical marijuana eligibility – Arizona Daily Star

PHOENIX — Arizona’s chief health officer wants to make it more difficult to add new conditions to the list for which doctors can recommend medical marijuana.

The change would require “clear and convincing evidence,” published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, that there is some benefit from the use of marijuana for the specified medical condition.

State Health Director Will Humble said that probably means multiple articles.

That’s a big change from the current regulations, which allow consideration of “a summary of the evidence” that marijuana will either help treat the condition or at least provide some relief from symptoms.

While the current rules also ask for articles in scientific journals, there is no mandate the research be “evidence-based” — or that the conclusions be clear and convincing.

Although he must hold at least one public hearing on a change in the rules, Humble has the power to unilaterally make a change.

Humble’s proposal comes months after he effectively was required, against his own judgment, to allow doctors to make medical marijuana available for post-traumatic stress disorder.

He originally rejected the application as being based largely on anecdotal evidence, but reversed himself when a state hearing officer pointed out his agency’s own rules require him to consider such evidence.

Humble said had his proposed rules been in effect at the time, he never would have made marijuana available for PTSD.

The move drew opposition from Jeffrey Kaufman, an attorney whose practice includes representing marijuana dispensaries.

“The governments have constructed a complex and impossible program and maze for anyone to get medical marijuana studies funding,” he said. “So, obviously, it’s going to be impossible for anybody to have any type of peer-reviewed literature or studies.”

That’s also the assessment of attorney Ken Sobel, who brought the legal challenge that resulted in Humble adding PTSD to the list. And he said a lawsuit is likely …read more