The state of Arizona has already made technological changes to the medical marijuana program in the years since its been implemented.
In 2019, Senate Bill 1494 called for the Arizona Department of Health Services to begin releasing electronic versions of the Medical Marijuana Registry Identification Card.
Card holders now go online to get their ID cards, see their up-to-date allotments of cannabis they can buy and find nearby dispensaries.
The new system has allowed for faster processing of new and renewed applications. It also helps dispensaries with check-ins, leading to shorter wait times under normal non-COVID-19 conditions.
Sara Presler of the Arizona Dispensaries Association said it does a number of other things.
She said it helps prevent fraud, it allows the state to immediately revoke a digital card if necessary, it gives patients the ability to update their personal information if needed, and if there is a recall on any product, the state will have a way to let patients know.
“There are wonderful communication benefits that go with an email card,” Ms. Presler said.
On June 2, the ADHS transitioned to a new computer system, helping streamline the process even more.
Some certification doctors are now giving patients the option to pay to have a hard-copy card like the old days. For those who don’t, they’re required to use the electronic system.
Doctors at AllGreen’s in Sun City recommend to patients that they take a screenshot of their electronic card and put it on the desktop of their phones to make the check-in process easier for those who choose to not buy a paper card.
Patients also have the option of printing them out themselves and laminating them if they choose.
Ms. Presler said the change will help state staff attend to other duties.
“It was like a sweat shop room there with staff printing cards all day long,” Ms. Presler said.
Editor’s Note: Jason Stone is the editor of the Surprise Independent and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.