Arizona Supreme Court Rules Medical Marijuana Immunity is Limited

Arizona Immunity and Illinois Judge

On May 6, 2016, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the legal protection afforded to physicians under the state’s medical marijuana laws only applies to the recommendation itself.

According to the Associated Press, the case stems from a 2013 where Dr. Robert Gear was charged with forgery and fraud after allegedly signing a police informant’s medical marijuana recommendation.

Although he performed a physical examination, Gear allegedly failed to obtain a year’s worth of medical information on the patient as required by law, despite indicating on the state-required form that he had reviewed the information.

Gear argued that the immunity provision in the Arizona medical marijuana law protected him from prosecution, which lower courts accepted; however, the Supreme Court of Arizona ruled that such a broad interpretation could have unintended consequences.

“For instance, would immunity extend to theft or sexual assault committed in the course of a physical examination conducted during the certification process?” wrote Justice Clint Bolick in the court’s opinion.

With this ruling, charges will now be reinstated against Gear and his case will return to court for prosecution.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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