State regulators in Arizona will begin issuing identification cards in digital form next month, according to a report from cannabis industry website azmarijuana.com. Beginning December 1, the new digital marijuana identification cards will replace the physical cards currently being issued through the mail by the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS).

The new digital identification cards will be sent via email to patients. The email will include a PDF version of the identification card which can be accessed when needed or saved on a cellphone or other electronic device. Patients who wish to carry a physical card can print the PDF to keep with them.

“This new process is making it easier for patients to update or change information when necessary, too,” said the AZDHS. “The digital cards can be accessed from a cell phone, laptop, or any other digital device with internet access.”

The agency added that the “AZDHS will email patients of the change to how cards are issued” and that “information will be available to follow up with the new process. The website will be updated with information soon.”

Steep Fees for Patients

Adult patients who qualify for Arizona’s medical marijuana program must pay an application fee of $150. Card renewals, which are also subject to the fee of $150, are required every two years. Patients who also qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are eligible for reduced application and renewal fees of $75. Identification cards are also required for a patient’s designated caregiver, if one is desired or necessary, and carry an application fee of $200.

Application fees for medical marijuana patients under 18 run $350, which includes the cost for a required designated caregiver. Fees for pediatric patients who are eligible for SNAP are reduced to $275.

To participate in Arizona’s medical marijuana program, patients must have a physician’s certification that they are being treated for one or more qualifying medical conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, or agitation of Alzheimer’s disease. Patients with a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition, or those undergoing treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes severe wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or muscle spasms may also qualify to use cannabis medicinally.

The medical use of cannabis was legalized with the passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act by voters in November 2010. Earlier this year, a bill to increase the time a medical marijuana identification is valid from one to two years was passed by Arizona lawmakers and signed into law by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. The measure also mandated lab testing for cannabis products to ensure safety.

A campaign to place a measure that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis in Arizona on the ballot for the 2020 general election is currently underway.

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