Court asked to rule Arizona's fee since medical marijuana permit is too high

An attorney is asking the Court of Appeals to force health officials to slash what they charge medical marijuana users for the state-issued permit needed to buy the drug.

The $150 that patients must pay annually is illegally high, attorney Sean Berberian said Monday. He said it is far more than the Arizona Department of Health Services needs to administer the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which allows people with certain medical conditions to use the drug. The 2010 voter-approved law makes it clear the agency cannot simply bank the proceeds, he said.

Berberian said this is more than an administrative bottleneck. He said evidence suggests that both Gov. Doug Ducey and predecessor Jan Brewer directed the agency to keep the fees as high as possible to deter patients from getting the drug. Ducey’s office denied that claim Monday.

“There have been no efforts from this office to direct ADHS’s operation...

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