Phoenix- A lawmaker in Arizona is working on a major change to the state’s medical marijuana regulations.
State Sen. Sonny Borelli, a Republican, has proposed a legislative amendment that would require all medical marijuana to go through laboratory testing for molds and pesticides. If enacted, SB 1420 would allocate $2 million from the state’s medical marijuana fund to pay for the testing. The fund is financed through annual fees paid by patients for their medical marijuana card.
Currently, the fund has a surplus of approximately $40 million. Because of this, Borelli is also seeking to lower the fee for medical marijuana cards. Currently, the cards cost patients $150 each year. Under Borelli’s plan, those fees would be reduced to $50 for first-time applicants and $25 for renewals.
The proposal has bi-partisan support with both Democratic and Republican leaders backing it. Overall, 78 lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors. Arizona has 90 lawmakers in its legislative body. If Borelli’s proposal is to become a reality it may need just about all of the co-sponsors to stay on board. Because the medical marijuana program was approved by voters, any changes require approval by three-quarters of state lawmakers.
Borelli says patients have a right to know what they are putting into their bodies.
“Customers need to know what’s going on with this stuff they are buying that they are convinced that it’s going to help them,” Borrelli said according to ABC 15. “We want to make sure that they understand that it’s not as pure and organic as they think it is.”
The Arizona Dispensary Association seemed encouraged by the proposal and issued the following statement:
“SB 1420 may mark the beginning of a seismic shift for medical cannabis in the state. The sponsor is a senior Republican, a committee chairman, and a conservative. The fact that he is leading the way on these improvements to the program is a terrific starting point and a remarkable example of what can be accomplished when the state’s leadership and the cannabis industry are working together.” – Joe DeMenna (Spokesman for ADA)
If passed, the bill would require all medical cannabis heading to dispensaries be tested for mold, pesticides, and chemicals. The Health Services Department would also consider using money in the state’s medical marijuana fund to conduct potency testing. Patients may be seeking specific levels of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. Potency testing would ensure patients are not getting too much or too little of what they need.