The five-point defeat of a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational cannabis for adults in Arizona has lead to a significant spike in applications for medical cannabis cards, according to medical cannabis doctors and clinics interviewed by the Phoenix New Times.
"We have been slammed," a receptionist at a Phoenix-area clinic told the New Times the day after the election.
As Arizona is one of the few states that publishes data about its medical cannabis program, the New Times reported that over 80 percent of medical cannabis patients in the state have cards for "severe or chronic pain only." While many of them are likely legitimate medical users, "Many patients are suspected to be recreational consumers — especially the younger, pain-only patients." Some clinics even go so far as to have in-house doctors to write required previous documentation of whatever ailment a patient needs medical cannabis for. (All in all, it's not too hard to get a medical card in Arizona.)
"Yesterday was definitely a big day," Adriana Sorlea, officer manager at Cannabis Certification Centers, which has several offices in Arizona, told the New Times the day after the election. "A lot of people waited to see if [Proposition 205, the ballot measure] passed."
Sam Stecklow is the Weekend Editor for Fusion.