Arizona’s medical marijuana industry continues to flourish. With the success of the program comes the debate of the excessive $150 annual state fee for a medical marijuana card. Many other states charge a much lower fee for a medical marijuana card, such as Colorado with a $15 annual fee.
This high fee was put in place to help the state pay for program administration costs and improvements, according to KJZZ 91.5 Radio. More than 130,000 Arizonans are registered as medical marijuana patients in the program, which leaves a $30 million surplus in their account – and rising.
Chris Hewitt of Harvest of Arizona dispensaries said, “Whether it’s a high copay, high-cost deductible or cost of a medical cannabis card, any barrier that prevents our residents from receiving or providing care simply seems unfair.”
Marijuana expert, Robert Karp, said, “It’s like any other tax. It’s almost impossible to get rid of. The state considers it remuneration for services provided. There will come a time when someone will become very vocal and say ‘why am I being charged for being sick? Why am I paying a fee to get my medicine?’”
Earlier in 2017, an effort to reduce the state fee was rejected by a judge. A notice of appeal has been filed with the Arizona Supreme Court.