Medical marijuana patients in Arizona are waiting for April, that's when the Arizona Department of Health Services has said they will begin taking applications for medical marijuana cards. Patients also need to find doctors willing to write medical marijuana certifications so they can get those cards.
It's my hope that Arizona doctors will write certifications for their current patients in the course there regular care, rather than charging patients $100 to $200 like doctors in California.
One local doctor is planning to things the right way. Dr. Benjamin Venger, a former neurosurgeon who runs the Tri-State Pain Institute, believes many of his patients can benefit from medical marijuana. He believes it's both less addictive and potentially less harmful than the Oxycontin, Morphine, and other drugs that are routinely prescribed for pain.
Dr. Venger is going to offer medical marijuana certifications at no cost for his current patients, or new pain patients to his practice. He will also write certifications for patients with conditions other than chronic pain, who meet the requirements of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
These patients will pay for a normal office visit to have their medical records reviewed. If Dr. Venger believes the patient can benefit from medical marijuana he will write a medical marijuana certification
He does require all patients to come in for a follow up visit to check how medical marijuana is working and check for any problems, side effects, or questions, something all doctors should do.
Some doctors have already setup web pages advertising they do certifications today, but there's a problem with issuing certifications before January. Certifications must be signed within 90 days of applying for a Arizona State medical marijuana card, and the state doesn't expect to accept applications until the first part of April.