MercuryNews.com: “Authorities arrested two men Tuesday after raiding and searching three Tri-City area businesses — a Newark cannabis club and the offices of two Fremont psychics — and a Salinas storefront, each of which are suspected sites of drug-related crimes, a state Department of Justice spokeswoman said. Police believe each of the businesses is tied to NBD Collective”
South County Spotlight: “Just after opening earlier this year, the sole remaining medical marijuana dispensary in Columbia County voluntarily shut down late last week, closing the door on what was largely becoming a growing illegal industry in Oregon, according to federal justice officials. Early this month, U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton sent letters to area marijuana dispensaries saying their operations were illegal and owners would be prosecuted if they remained open”
Lew Rockwell.com: “Einsatzgruppen (German) – ‘Special task forces’ composed of police, military, and intelligence personnel deployed to target and eliminate people identified as ‘anti-German elements’ by the National Socialist regime; also referred to as ‘mobile killing squads.’ . . . Arizona’s coercive sector has benefited tremendously from ‘the overwhelming success of the asset forfeiture [program] in Arizona,’ boasts the Commission. In the year following creation of the sixteen state counter-narcotics task forces, revenue from asset forfeitures more than doubled – from $19,576,626 in 2006 to $40,297,456 in 2007. . . . What this means, of course, is that ‘local’ police agencies are essentially support systems for a plundering army that is literally waging war against the people in the guise of narcotics enforcement.”
Record Gazette: “Law enforcement officials raided a medical marijuana dispensary in Beaumont on Tuesday, serving search warrants at its nondescript location on 6th Street and four other locations, and arresting five people, including its owner. Members of the Allied Riverside Cities Narcotic Enforcement Team (ARCNET) concluded a seven-month long criminal investigation of Oak Tree Alternative Care. The business had been operating there under the guise of a medicinal marijuana collective“
Phoenix New Times: “In a creative work-around to the state’s lack of marijuana dispensaries, a group of card-holding patients are offering various strains of buds, edibles and tinctures in exchange for donations from club members. The Arizona Compassion Club operates out of several Valley offices, and the people running the clubs believe they’re perfectly legal.”
Ahwatukee Foothills News: “Medical marijuana has come to the forefront of several legal battles, both local and federal. The most significant is the state’s lawsuit against the U.S. government — a suit that is holding up applications to open medical marijuana dispensaries. . . . As hopeful dispensary operators wait out the decision, medical marijuana patients are able to grow and utilize their own pot if they have a medical marijuana card that also authorizes them to grow.”
East Valley Tribune: “Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne are taking heat for seeking clarification from the feds on the status of Arizona’s newest medical marijuana law. They don’t deserve it.”
Can a Person Who Holds an Arizona Medical Marijuana Patient Card Sell Marijuana to Another Arizona Licensed Patient or Caregiver?
The arrest of Gary Ferguson and others by the Gilbert Police Department raises the question of whether an Arizona medical marijuana patient cardholder can sell marijuana to another person who is licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services as a medical marijuana patient or caregiver. Several people have been or will be arrested as a result of Mr. Ferguson’s operation of the Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group where card-holding Arizona medical marijuana patients were able to gather to smoke pot and sell marijuana to other licensed patients. Mr. Ferguson told a reporter that he believes that Arizona Revised Statutes Section 36-2815 authorizes Arizona licensed patients sell marijuana to other Arizona licensed patients. For more on this arrest, see “Gilbert police raid of medical-marijuana group raises questions.”
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 36-2815.C states:
“Any cardholder who sells marijuana to a person who is not allowed to possess marijuana for medical purposes under this chapter shall have his registry identification card revoked, and shall be subject to other penalties for the unauthorized sale of marijuana and other applicable offenses.”
Unfortunately for those arrested in the Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group raid, this statute does not say that Arizona medical marijuana patients may sell marijuana to other licensed Arizona medical marijuana patients. Nor does this statute authorize caregivers to sell marijuana to other caregivers or patients.
The issue of a licensed patient or caregiver supplying marijuana to a third party is addressed in Arizona Revised Statutes Section 36-2811.B, which states:
“A registered qualifying patient or registered designated caregiver is not subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, or denial of any right or privilege, including any civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau . . . For offering or providing marijuana to a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver for the registered qualifying patient’s medical use or to a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary if nothing of value is transferred in return and the person giving the marijuana does not knowingly cause the recipient to possess more than the allowable amount of marijuana.”
This statute is a safe harbor for licensed Arizona medical marijuana patients who supply marijuana to other licensed Arizona medical marijuana patients ONLY IF THE SUPPLIER GETS NOTHING OF VALUE from the receipient. If the supplier receives any money or any property of value, Arizona’s medical marijuana laws do not protect the supplier from prosecution for violating Arizona state or local marijuana laws. Nor will the supplier avoid prosecution under federal law because the U.S. Attorney and many of the state U.S. Attorneys including Arizona’s Dennis Burke have said the U.S. will not generally spend U.S. resources prosecuting patients and caregivers who comply with the laws of a state like Arizona that have legalized medical marijuana. An Arizona licensed medical marijuana patient who sells marijuana to another Arizona licensed patient is not complying with Arizona’s medical marijuana laws and could therefor be prosecuted for violating federal marijuana laws.
Arizona Republic: “Two House members introduced a bill Thursday that would remove marijuana from the list of federal controlled substances and cede to the states enforcement of laws governing pot.”
Livington Daily.com: “Police this afternoon again raided the Marshall Alternatives medical marijuana dispensary”
The Redlands Daily Facts: “A Riverside County multi-agency task force has arrested the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary who authorities say weathered a ban for more than two years by paying a $1,000-a-day fine. . . . Oak Tree Alternative Care was skirting Proposition 215 and was selling marijuana for profit”
Espresso Pundit: “I get this comment all the time… Republicans pick and choose which issues the federal government should control. You guys think Arizona should have its own immigration policy, but you defer to the federal government on medical marijuana. Isn’t your whole ‘states rights’ argument just a convenient tool? It’s actually a really good question“
Phoenix New Times: “Four U.S. Congressmen want Attorney General Eric Holder to clarify the Obama Adminstration’s position on medical marijuana, and what they’re asking for cuts down party lines. Ironically, it’s two Democrats who are pushing for states’ rights, while two Republicans are demanding that the federal government keep its stranglehold on the marijuana industry.”
Huffington Post: “Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) will introduce legislation on Thursday to end the federal ban on marijuana and let the states decide whether to legalize it.”
Wall St. Journal: “Cities Crack Down on Proliferation, Say Medical Marijuana Not So Medical – In a furious backlash against the booming medical-marijuana industry, scores of cities and counties across Colorado have banned new pot shops and cannabis greenhouses or moved to oust established businesses. . . .But the public backlash may soon begin to crimp access, patient advocates say. At least 34 of Colorado’s 64 counties have enacted bans, as have cities large and small, urban, suburban and rural. Some of the jurisdictions that still permit pot shops have imposed tight restrictions, on top of the nearly 200 pages of regulations imposed by the state.”
HuffPost Denver: “Marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized medical pot are struggling to obtain service from banks and credit-card companies, pressured by federal authorities who consider illegal the business estimated at $1.7 billion annually. Operators and supporters of marijuana dispensaries say banks are turning away their business because they risk falling afoul of anti-money-laundering and drug-trafficking laws. The largest U.S. bank, Bank of America Corp, said it started withdrawing services from dispensaries after receiving a warning from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in late 2007 or early 2008.”
One of the plaintiffs in the O.F. & C., Inc. vs. Humble lawsuit filed in the Arizona Court of Appeals is an organization called Protect Arizona Patients, Inc. This nonprofit corporation is leading the fight to force Arizona to comply with and fully implement Proposition 203. If you agree with this position, you should consider making a contribution to the O.F. & C., Inc. vs. Humble legal fund. Litigation is not cheap and every dollar counts. For more about this Protect Arizona Patients and its fight to force DHS to implement the medical marijuana dispensaries, go to its website.
Lawsuit Filed in Court of Appeals to Force Arizona Department of Health to Implement Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
PRWeb: “Will Humble, the Executive Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) was served last Tuesday with a copy of a Special Action filed in the Arizona Court of Appeals (No. 1 CA-SA 11-016). The lawsuit was the first of two actions filed against ADHS seeking judicial relief. The second action (LC2011-000410) was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court. Both lawsuits are seeking a court order directing Will Humble and the ADHS to fully implement the licensing of the Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.”
Read the Complaint.
Sacramento Bee: “Authorities raided a south Sacramento marijuana dispensary Thursday and arrested its operator and his father, alleging the pot shop has been operating illegally as a for-profit organization. Elk Grove police, along with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, served a search warrant at the R&R Wellness Center on Quinta Court”
The Daily News: “Earlier this month, sheriff’s deputies were called to a West Longview apartment where people were smoking marijuana. A woman presented a deputy with a medical marijuana card, according to a report, and the deputy left. No citations. No arrests. The deputy later explained to the person who called in the complaint that ‘there was nothing to be done.’ Marijuana, once reviled as a dangerous narcotic, lumped with heroin and cocaine, has become more widely accepted in recent years than many thought possible.”
Phoenix New Times: “Gilbert police made another medical-marijuana raid last week — this one at the office of a Tempe advocacy group where patients sold pot to other patients. About 4 p.m. last Thursday, cops — some in masks — entered the small office of the Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group, in an industrial complex at 2011 East Fifth Street. They placed the founder, an employee, and several customers in handcuffs for more than an hour and searched the place. Several ounces of weed, including live plants, were seized.”
Here are some stories from the Arizona Republic about recent developments with use permits for medical marijuana dispensaries.
- Paradise Valley – “Medical-marijuana dispensary application put on hold in PV“
- Phoenix – “Medical-marijuana dispensary permit OK’d“
Memo to Arizona Medical Marijuana Patients Who Grow Their Own Pot – Don’t ever let a Direct TV installer near your plants! East Valley Tribune: “A couple hours after a DirecTV worker saw marijuana and hashish inside a bedroom closet of Ross Taylor’s Gilbert home during the installation process of a satellite dish, 12 Gilbert police officers wearing masks and toting guns busted into his house and took his pot. Taylor, 35, is a card-carrying medical marijuana patient under Arizona’s new voter-approved law”
For more on this story that is outrageous in several ways, read Ray Stern’s story in the Phoenix New Times called “Gilbert Police Storm Home, Seize Two Ounces of Marijuana From Card-Holding Medical Pot Patient. Really,” which states:
“Sergeant Bill Balafas, Gilbert PD spokesman, tells New Times that because Taylor bought the pot from another person, as opposed to growing it himself, the possession wasn’t legal despite his status as a patient.”
If Sargeant Balafas is correct, then every person in Arizona who obtains a medical marijuana patient or caregiver card and who acquires marijuana from a source not authorized by Arizona’s medical marijuana law such as from a licensed Arizona medical marijuana dispensary (of which there are none) can be charged with a crime. Arizona’s medical marijuana law is written in such a way that the only way for an Arizona medical marijuana dispensary to get any marijuana to grow when the industry begins is from patients and caregivers who give the plants or seeds to the dispensary for free.
Inside Tucson Business: “A group of would-be medical marijuana dispensary operators have filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona in an effort to force the state to issue dispensary licenses. Scottsdale-based Rose Law Group filed the complaint for special action in Maricopa County Superior Court on Tuesday (June 14) on behalf of Serenity Arizona, Inc. and Medzona Group, Inc., both non-profit organizations intent on entering the state’s nascent medical marijuana industry.”
The Press Enterprise: “Seven people were arrested Wednesday and an eighth is being sought after San Bernardino County sheriff’s investigators raided a medical marijuana dispensary in Bloomington that authorities said operated illegally. The arrests followed a three-month investigation into the Cognoscente Patients Collective . . . which investigators say was selling marijuana for profit in violation of the state’s medical marijuana law.”
Sacramento Bee: “Authorities raided a south Sacramento marijuana dispensary Thursday and arrested its operator and his father, alleging the pot shop has been operating illegally as a for-profit organization. . . . Police believe the dispensary has not been adhering to provisions of the state’s Compassionate Use Act, Trim said, instead operating as a for-profit organization and ‘essentially acting as illegal marijuana dealers.’ Under state law, dispensaries must operate as nonprofit patient organizations.”
NJ.com: “Gov. Chris Christie last night said he won’t allow medical marijuana for chronically ill patients until the federal government assures him they won’t prosecute anyone for working in the program. It is a new stipulation by the governor, who has been accused of intentionally trying to delay the law. “The federal government is saying medical marijuana is against the law,” Christie said in an appearance on the “On the Line” call-in show, which was televised tonight on New Jersey Network and streamed live on NJ.com. “Until I get that assurance, I cannot ask people to do things that they might get prosecuted by federal prosecutors.”
The Daily Astorian: “When Nature’s Choice Alternative Medicine opened in Astoria in April and provided patients, care givers and growers with Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cards access to marijuana and supplies, law enforcement called it a potentially illegal operation. They said that Nature’s Choice – as well as dozens of similar locations across Oregon – was taking advantage of a loophole in Oregon’s unclear law. Wednesday, Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin served Nature’s Choice owner Nick Clark a notice stating that the sale of marijuana for any purpose, including medicine, would not be tolerated.”
Dispensaries Sue ADHS in Arizona Court of Appeals Seeking an Order that State Implement Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Laws
Yesterday attorney David Dow filed an Emergency Petition for Special Action re: Writ of Mandamus in the Arizona Court of Appeals. The lawsuit ask the Court to issue an Order:
“A. In the form of an emergency Writ of Mandamus commanding Respondent [Will Humble as ADHS Director] to fully implement the AMMA by accepting dispensary applications within thirty (30) days of the execution of this Writ, and to process those applications and issue licenses within the timeframes outlined in the AMMA;
B. To find that Respondents’ action in refusing to accept and process such dispensary applications, and to issue dispensary licenses is arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion;”
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are: (1) O.F. & C., INC., an Arizona Non-Profit Corporation, d/b/a THE VIRTUE CENTER; (2) ELEMENTS THERAPEUTIC DISPENSARY, an Arizona Non-Profit Corporation; (3) ARIZONA DISPENSARY SOLUTIONS, L.L.C., an Arizona Limited Liability Company; (4) ARIZONA ALTERNATIVE RELIEF CENTERS, INC., an Arizona Non Profit Corporation d/b/a MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES; (5) PROTECT ARIZONA PATIENTS, INC., an Arizona Non-Profit Corporation; (6) CULTIVATION MANAGEMENT SERVICES, an Arizona Limited Liability Company; (7) HEATHER TORGERSON; and (8) STEPHEN JOHNSON.