Health Dept. may expand medical marijuana discounts - Tucson News Now

Health Dept. may expand medical marijuana discounts to seniors, vets

Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The Arizona Department of Health Services is looking at cutting medical marijuana card costs in half for veterans, seniors and those on disability or Social Security. The reason, believe it or not, is that they're actually making too much money.

"I'm agitated, I have had talked to a psychiatrist at the VA, I've tried different medications for sleep," said Vietnam combat veteran Don, who preferred we not use his last name. He said the only medicine that's helped him feel normal again is cannabis.

"Get a good night's sleep, no nightmares, it does relieve pain," Don said.

After buying his card for $150, he said he spends about $5 a day on marijuana. He tells us any discount will go a long way.

"Financially, I'm retired, it will help a lot," Don said.

"We're bringing in more money than we really need," said Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble. He said they've got $9 million right now, but that has to go back to the medical marijuana program. Folks who receive food stamps - about 15 percent of the people who have their cards - already qualify for a 50 percent discount, but Humble wants to expand that.

"Adding seniors, veterans, and folks who receive SSI and SSDI to the discount categories," Humble said.

That would bring the number of folks receiving discounts to the 40 percent range and make folks like Don very happy.

"I'm partial to vets and people on disability, people on low-income," Don said. "I definitely believe they should be at the head of the line and get a good break."

Humble said he's also willing to look at even deeper discounts, like 75 percent, for some folks. They are accepting public input on this proposal throughout the summer.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow