On February 25, 2011, the Arizona Department of Health Services published comments from the public on the January 31, 2011, second draft of the proposed rules that implement Arizona’s new medical marijuana laws.  Here are the links to the comments.

The Department also received the comments below at the four public meetings held during February 14 to 17, 2011: Written Comment Forms

In addition, the Department received the following written comments: Group A and Group B

What follows are some comments I found interesting from the written comments submitted to the DHS.

  • Attorney Victor Mark agreed with one of my comments that the Arizona residency requirement is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.  He said:

“Probably the most unconstitutional provision of the 2nd draft of rules is contained in R9-17-303, where it requires each principal officer or board member of a dispensary to have been an Arizona resident for the three years immediately preceding the date the dispensary submits an application. Such residency requirements have repeatedly been held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States and other federal courts.”

  • Attorney Jordan Rose said in an email message to Tom Salow that applicants should be required to prove they have $750,000 of liquid assets to be eligible for consideration to get a license to operate a dispensary.  She proposed the following change to the rules:

“R9-17-303(B) Inset!: (9) A letter from a licensed financial institution indicating that the entity applying for the license has an open account with not less than $750,000.00 in cash (this is an estimated average cost associated with implementing the rigorous requirements of build-out, including all health and safety/security considerations, in compliance with DHS requirements and to operate over the fits! year of business) in an account. The letter must be updated one time and provided to the Department at the time the Department requests it prior to final approval of any Application. If the letter is not timely updated pursuant to this section then the application will be deemed incomplete.”

She also wants local sheriff’s department to approve the dispensary’s security plan after paying a fee.  In addition, she said, the rules should “require that the appropriate jurisdiction complete a form certifying that the applicant’s location meets all of the local jurisdiction’s zoning restrictions necessary to operate as a medical marijuana dispensary including if applicable a use permit and any other special requirements under that jurisdictions land use regulations.”

Here email message to DHS’ Tom Salow ends with this curious statement:

The information contained in this message is privileged and confidential It is intended only to be read by the individual or entity named above or their designee If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are on notice that any distribution of this message, in any form is strictly prohibited If you have received this message in error, please immediately notify the sender by telephone at 480 505 3939 or by fax 480 505 3925 and delete or destroy any copy of this message Thank you”

I wonder if anybody will notify Ms. Rose about getting her message on the DHS website?

  • Two dudes claiming to be with the nonexistent Arizona Medical Marijuana Association submitted two lengthy statements.  See “What is the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association?”  The AzMMA statement also includes the results of an interesting public opinion poll commissioned by the AzMMA.  The AzMMA recommends that applicants for a dispensary license prove they have a minimum amount of liquid assets.  It does not like the lottery selection process or the CHAA system of dispersing dispensaries.
  • Page 111 of the comments in Group A is an estimated first year budget for a medical marijuana dispensary.  The start up costs are estimated to be a low of $749,000 and a high of $2,133,000.
  • The Biltmore Bank wants dispensary applicants to provide proof they have a minimum of $750,000 in liquid assets.  By coincidence, it proposed the exact same change (word for word) to R9-17-303(B) made by Jordan Rose.  Query:  Why is a bank commenting on Arizona’s medical marijuana rules?  Very odd!
  • The Pinal County Sheriff, Paul Babeu, wants dispensaries to submit their security plans to the local sheriff’s department and obtain the sheriff’s approval.  By another strange coincidence, he submitted the same word for word change to the rules on this issue as did Jordan Rose.
  • Attorney Lisa Hauser submitted comments on behalf of the nonexistent Arizona Medical Marijuana Association for the second time.  She said, “The Association is pleased that so many of its J January 7, 2011 comments made their way into the Department’s proposed rules.”  This nonexistent corporation/LLC was just one voice of many who submitted comments to the first draft of the rules and suggested the same changes.  The AzMMA is the only group I am aware of that tries to take credit for changes DHS made to the rules based on the large number of comments received.  Lisa said the two biggest problems the AzMMA has with the rules are the lottery and the CHAAs, both of which I too requested by dumped.