Judge: DHS Can Continue Collecting Medical-Marijuana Fees

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 - 5:03pm
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 - 5:10pm

Medical-marijuana users say the Arizona Department of Health Services is collecting more than it needs in fees. But a judge says the agency can continue to do so.

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge does not dispute that DHS is collecting more from medical marijuana users than it needs to administer the program.

But she said there is nothing in the law that prohibits it from taking in more than needed. Attorney Sean Berberian says he intends to appeal.

"It is unfortunate that they openly acknowledge that they have excess funds. And yet they're not willing to voluntarily decide to refund it or actually put it to good use towards the program," Berberian said.

When the fees were set by former DHS head, Will Humble, it was based on assumptions about startup costs and the number of patients who would qualify.

As it turns out, his estimate of 25,000 patients was far too low. The latest reports show more than 125,000 have been cleared to use medical marijuana.

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