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How A 'Dracula Clause' Could Protect Medical Cannabis Patients In Arizona

As Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues his misguided attack on legal marijuana, many people are wondering how - or even if - they will be protected. A so-called "Dracula Clause” written into Arizona law, is a sort of failsafe ensuring that medical marijuana patients will have legal recourse if the state medical program is killed.

Proposition 203, the Medical Marijuana Act, was a ballot proposition. As Ray Stern writes in the Phoenix New Times, this means that it can’t be altered by the legislature without a three-fourths vote - and such a change would be required to further the purpose of the Act. So even if feds crack down, the content of the state law is not likely to change. 

Enter the 'Dracula Clause’. 

The good folks at the Marijuana Policy Project, who put the act on the ballot, included a failsafe under Arizona Revised Statute 36-2818. If the medical marijuana industry goes kaput because of Sessions and company and stops issuing medical marijuana cards, "a notarized statement by a qualifying patient containing the information required...together with a written certification issued by a physician...shall be deemed a valid registry identification card.” In other words: Kill the law, and it will rise again like Bela Lugosi from his crypt.

But where will patients get their marijuana? State law dictates that patients can grow a maximum of 12 plants if there is no dispensary within 25 miles.

While this obviously isn’t a perfect solution, it’s an impressive bit of legal footwork that protects patients from the interference of anti-cannabis feds.

And that, unlike Dracula, doesn’t suck. Lawmakers, take note.

h/t Phoenix New Times.


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