Pubdate: Mon, 22 Nov 2010
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2010 Jay Fleming
Author: Jay Fleming


This is a very important time for Arizona medical-marijuana patients
("Medical marijuana passes," Nov. 14).

The Arizona Department of Health Services has 120 days after the
election is certified to write the regulations for the Arizona Medical
Marijuana Act.

How they write these regulations will decide if medical-marijuana
dispensaries can charge the same old black-market prices as drug
dealers charge or, like New Mexico, if prices will be based on the
actual costs of production.

I checked prices at several dispensaries and collectives in the
Needles, Calif., area. The retail price of medical marijuana in
Needles is between $5,440 and $8,960 a pound. This is what we need to
prevent in Arizona.

The Rand Drug Policy Research Center says a well-run 5- by 5-foot
hydroponic grow producing four harvests per year might yield 10.5
pounds per year with tangible costs of $225 per pound - $75 per pound
for electricity and the remaining $150 per pound for other factors.
That works out to $14.06 an ounce.

In New Mexico, of the five dispensaries licensed, two are providing
medical marijuana to patients at less than $10 per gram: one for
$4/gram ($114/ounce) and one for $5/gram ($142.50/ounce).

It's time to do the right thing.

Jay Fleming, Mohave Valley
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake