Criminal Charges for Doctors Making Medical Marijuana Referrals

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Legalizing Medical Marijuana

The legalization and legislation of medical marijuana is making waves across the country. In Arizona, legalization is covered under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, enacted in 2010. This deals with the legalization, distribution, and regulation of medical marijuana in Arizona.

Know Your Rights And Responsibilities

A medical marijuana patient must be registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services. The Arizona Department of Health Services gives a registry identification card to patients who are diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition by a doctor, which allows them to get medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary.Patients must have suffered from the qualifying condition for a minimum of one year in order to qualify for medical marijuana. Conditions include cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, and medical conditions that cause wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, persistent muscle spasms, or PTSD (this condition comes into effect in 2015).

Medical Marijuana Laws

Previously, medical marijuana doctors could be charged for recommending medical marijuana prescriptions if they did not review a year’s worth of patient records as stipulated by the Arizona Department of Health Services certification form. This stipulation proves that the patient has had the qualifying condition for at least twelve months.However, in November 2014, the Arizona court of appeals ruled that these criminal charges are not legal and cannot happen. This is because the medical marijuana act bars criminal charges for doctors who recommend medical marijuana, keeping them immune from prosecution.Doctors should be aware that they can still be disciplined by licensing boards and/or the Arizona Department of Health Services, if they do not adhere to Arizona Department of Health Services requirements.

Driving While Impaired

Other medical marijuana laws people should know, following legalization, deal with driving while impaired. Driving with marijuana in one’s system, even medical marijuana, will usually lead to a DUI-D. DUI-D stands for driving under the influence of drugs, which is against the law as it is considered driving while impaired. It is challenging to know what constitutes a DUI-D as a person could be considered driving while impaired due to drugs in his or her system even if the marijuana was ingested days or weeks prior. This is one issue of marijuana legalization that poses problems for the law.Legalization of marijuana, medical or otherwise, is complicated — contact a lawyer if you need help figuring out your rights.