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Arizona AG Says Marijuana Money Can Be Used for Addiction Services

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By Associated Press

(AP) — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich says the legal door is open for the Legislature to use money from state’s medical marijuana program to pay for services to help people addicted to drugs.

Arizona voters approved a 2010 law creating the medical marijuana program and Brnovich says providing funding for drug addiction services from the medical marijuana program’s funds is legal if the legislative action satisfies conditions required under the Arizona Constitution’s provision protecting voter-approved laws.

An opinion released Monday by Brnovich says the legislative action requires approval by a three-quarter voter of each legislative chamber, leave enough money in the marijuana program to cover its costs and “further the purposes” of the marijuana law.

Brnovich issued the opinion Monday to answer questions by state Sen. Sylvia Allen, a Republican from Snowflake.

The opinion concluded:

The Legislature may direct the ADHS Director to expend monies from the Fund for programs to help people addicted to drugs if: (1) the appropriation is passed with a three-fourths vote of each house; (2) the appropriation does not deplete the Fund and leave insufficient revenues to cover the immediate and future costs of the initiative; and (3) the appropriation furthers the purpose of the AMMA.  To that end, an appropriation for activities related to distinguishing between medical and nonmedical uses of marijuana, protecting patients and providers from criminal prosecution, or carrying out, implementing, or administering the AMMA would meet this criterion.  If these requirements are met, it is not necessary to submit an appropriation request to Arizona’s voters.

AP Photo/Don Ryan

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