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Medical Marijuana: Seniors, Vets May Get Discount Cards


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Medical marijuana patients who are 65 and older could soon get discounted medical pot cards.

The Arizona Department of Health Services, which oversees the state's medical marijuana program, wants to slash card prices by 50 percent for seniors, veterans, and those who receive Social Security and disability payments.

RELATED: Arizona weighs PTSD for medical-pot usage

The department has about $9 million in a fund collected from cardholders, who pay $150 a year to receive or renew a card. Since the law limits how those funds can be spent, state officials propose offering discounted rates.

The funds can only be used to administer the medical marijuana program. For example, state officials are contracting with the University of Arizona College of Public Health and poison control centers to help manage the program.

The proposal for discounted cards will be unveiled Wednesday in draft rules that must advance through a series steps, including public comment and hearings. It's almost certain the discounts will pass the rule-making process since they came at the suggestion of health services Director Will Humble. He expects the new rates to kick in towards the end of the year or in early 2015.

Currently, cardholders who are on food stamps — about 15 percent of programs participants — receive a half-off discount.

"For seniors, many of them are on limited income and so, I felt like we should provide a discount for them," Humble told The Arizona Republic. "For people on SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), it's challenging for them to afford" medical marijuana cards.

Humble said he is willing to consider deeper discounts for those groups.

"There are two ways we can deal with the revenue," he said. "We can provide deeper discounts or lower the costs of the cards as a whole. My preference is to provide discounts for special populations."

About 50,000 people participate in Arizona's medical marijuana program, which was approved by voters in 2010. Of those, 10 percent are seniors and many are veterans, who frequently receive discounts offered by medical marijuana dispensaries.



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yeah he better run out there and do some good pr, after the judge slapped ptsd on the qualification list.


still, its nice to see the health dept guy say something nice for mmj patients. i dont think arwood said anything when he doubled the price for low-income patients.

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