At the end of 2015, Arizona’s five-year-old medical marijuana program had accumulated an $11.5 million surplus. State law says the program can only raise enough “sufficient to implement and administer” the medical marijuana program, so two users are suing over annual identification card fees, according to a Dec. 5, 2016, article at Tucson.com.
In 2015 alone, the Department of Health Services collected $2.6 million more than it needed to run the state’s medical marijuana program. Fees were collected from patients, caregivers and dispensaries. With such a surplus, medical marijuana users Yolanda Daniels and Lisa Becker are suing to reduce the $150 in annual fees they must pay to use pot medicinally.
Their lawyer, Sean Berberian, said, “In a time when medication is more expensive than ever, the state should be helping to make it cheaper for Arizonans. The state is deliberately squatting on the excess fund instead of refunding it to patients or using it in furtherance of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, such as to help patients.”
He also accuses former Gov. Jan Brewer of influencing “the setting of the initial patient and caregiver card prices to keep many qualifying patients from accessing legal medication.”