The following is the text of a January 13, 2012, blog post by Will Humble on his Arizona Department of Health Services website:
Last May (after receiving a threatening letter from the Arizona U.S Attorney’s Office) the Governor suspended the dispensary portion of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act with a genuine concern that state employees would be federally prosecuted. Last year, we asked the federal court to provide us with guidance regarding the obvious conflicts between the Arizona law and the federal Controlled Substances Act. The federal court’s refusal to address the issue on the merits left many unanswered questions regarding these conflicts. It’s unfortunate that the Federal court and the Arizona U.S Attorney’s Office couldn’t provide clarity for us on this issue. However, after careful consideration, the Governor has asked us to implement the dispensary portion of the AZ Medical Marijuana Act.
Our first step will be to review the rules for accepting dispensary applications. Our rules had originally stated that we’d accept dispensary applications last June. Obviously, that’s no longer possible- so we’ll need to set new application dates using the State’s rulemaking process. We’re working on those rules right now. The process is complicated by the fact that a lawsuit called Compassion v. Arizona is challenging the scope and constitutionality of our medical marijuana rules. If that lawsuit is withdrawn or settled quickly, we could begin accepting dispensary applications this Summer.