Ink Dry on Final Revised Medical Marijuana Rules

Will Humble said the following on his blog on February 27, 2012:

As you know from earlier blog posts a judge ruled in a state case that had challenged our dispensary applicant selection criteria. The judge’s decision basically struck down several of the selection criteria we had been planning to use to for competitive areas of the state (areas where there will be more than 1 applicant per Community Health Analysis Area).

Last week our team finished the revisions to the regulations by making adjustments to comply with the judge’s decision and to set a process for identifying a new timeline for accepting dispensary applications. We’ve shipped the revised rules to the Attorney General’s Office for final review. Once their review is complete, the AG’s office will file the final package with the Secretary of State- and the revised rules will become immediately effective.

I’ve heard that there’s a buzz in the community that we’re completely revamping the rules for dispensaries. This is not the case. We’ve simply made revisions to comply with the recent Superior Court Ruling. We’re still on track to be able to accept dispensary applications in April. We’d then have about 45 days to review and award dispensary certificates- so we could potentially award up to 125 dispensary certificates by mid- to late-June. If someone is pretty much ready to go at that point, we could see medical marijuana dispensaries operating in July or August.

P.S. There have been a couple of new lawsuits filed against the Department in the last couple of weeks. One challenges our authority to require a medical director at dispensaries and one challenges other aspects of the rules and the initiative language itself. It’s unclear whether these cases will impede our progress in getting the dispensaries licensed- but I’m going to do everything I can administratively and otherwise to make sure the dispensary licensing goes forward as planned.

By |2012-02-28T06:23:58-07:00February 28th, 2012|Stories & Articles, Will Humble Speaks|1 Comment

Justice Department Has No Regrets on Its Medical Pot Stance

San Francisco Chronicle:  “Eight months after the Justice Department appeared to reverse course on its apparent hands-off policy on medical marijuana, officials there maintain a ‘no regrets’ stance but acknowledge being out of their element in the face of blowback from marijuana supporters. . . . [U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner of the Sacramento, California, district said] ‘conditions on the ground’ changed between 2009 and 2011, not department policy.  ‘It wasn’t a lack of good faith on our part,’ he said. ‘We were alarmed by explosive growth of these large commercial operations. These huge dispensaries are focused on profits, not helping sick people.’  For the businesses to characterize themselves as caregivers ‘seemed disingenuous,’ he added.”

By |2012-02-26T07:17:20-07:00February 26th, 2012|California News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Justice Department Has No Regrets on Its Medical Pot Stance

Feds’ Pot Response Differs in California, Colorado

San Francisco Chronicle:  “Colorado and California are among the 16 states that, along with the District of Columbia, have laws permitting marijuana use for medicinal purposes. But while each of the laws conflicts with federal law, Colorado and California represent case studies in the varying degrees of U.S. law enforcement response. . . . But that’s a light dusting compared with the enforcement actions directed by U.S. attorneys in California, which include letters to landlords threatening forfeiture, IRS letters seeking back taxes and telling medical marijuana businesses they can’t deduct expenses, and DEA raids on dispensaries and marijuana ‘grows.’  The varying reactions of U.S. attorneys in the two states may be attributable to the level of state regulation of the medical marijuana industry – or lack of it.”

By |2012-08-25T08:06:04-07:00February 26th, 2012|California News, Colorado News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Feds’ Pot Response Differs in California, Colorado

Vallejo Marijuana Dispensary Raided by Feds, State and Local Officials

Vallejo Times-Herald:  “The operator of one of Vallejo’s more prominent medical marijuana dispensaries was arrested Tuesday, following a raid on his home, business and associated properties by federal, state and local law enforcement agents.  Matthew Shotwell, operator and founder of Greenwell Cooperative at 616 Marin St., was arrested during the joint operation, Vallejo Police Lt. Ken Weaver said. . . . The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of California is also investigating a potential civil action against the building’s owner, Alan Wofsy, of San Francisco”

By |2012-05-12T14:39:30-07:00February 23rd, 2012|California News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Marijuana Crimes, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Vallejo Marijuana Dispensary Raided by Feds, State and Local Officials

Medical Marijuana Ban to Hit Arizona College Campuses

Arizona Daily Wildcat:  “The UA may have to keep the bongs at bay, as a new bill would make medical marijuana on campus illegal, even if it is allowed in the state.  The university already bans medical marijuana on campus in order to receive federal funding under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989. House Bill 2349 would make it illegal for the ban not to exist.”

By |2012-02-23T06:53:17-07:00February 23rd, 2012|AZ Legislation, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Medical Marijuana Ban to Hit Arizona College Campuses

Riverside, CA Asks Feds’ Help in Marijuana Enforcement

The Press-Enterprise:  “Two top Riverside officials are asking U.S. attorneys to enforce the federal marijuana ban in their city, as the feds have in other Southern California communities during a recent crackdown on medical marijuana operations. . . . In October, the state’s four U.S. attorneys began a crackdown they described as targeting commercial distribution of marijuana.  Dispensaries in French Valley and Wildomar have been shut down in recent months, others in the Inland area have received warning letters, and federal officials have filed civil and criminal actions against dispensary operators and property owners who rent to them.”

By |2017-10-07T09:54:54-07:00February 22nd, 2012|California News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Marijuana Crimes, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Riverside, CA Asks Feds’ Help in Marijuana Enforcement

Arizona Medical Marijuana Act’s 25-Mile Ban on Growing Pot Challenged in Lawsuit; Another Suit Seeks Different Rule Change

Phoenix New Times:  “A new lawsuit over Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act targets the provision that bans patients and caregivers from growing pot within 25 miles of an open dispensary.  Bill Hayes, a marijuana activist and qualified patient who lives in Surprise, argues in a federal complaint filed yesterday that the provision violates the equal protection clause of the state constitution. . . . Hayes, who was a volunteer for the Arizona Compassion Club when we met him back in June, now runs the Arizona Cannabis Society, . . . In the other lawsuit we mentioned, philanthropist Gerald Gaines wants the court to throw out a DHS rule — the one that requires a licensed physician to be a medical director.”

 

By |2012-02-18T07:25:17-07:00February 18th, 2012|AZ Marijuana Law Lawsuits, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Arizona Medical Marijuana Act’s 25-Mile Ban on Growing Pot Challenged in Lawsuit; Another Suit Seeks Different Rule Change

Obama’s War on Pot

Rolling Stone:  “In a shocking about-face, the administration has launched a government-wide crackdown on medical marijuana.  Back when he was running for president in 2008, Barack Obama insisted that medical marijuana was an issue best left to state and local governments. ‘I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue,’ he [lied] vowed, promising an end to the Bush administration’s high-profile raids on providers of medical pot, which is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia.  But over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush’s record for medical-marijuana busts. ‘There’s no question that Obama’s the worst president on medical marijuana,’ says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. ‘He’s gone from first to worst’.”

  • MarijuanAmerica
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  • The State of Marijuana Reform in America
  • Marijuana By The Numbers
  • Barely Legal: The Politics of Pot in America
By |2019-06-14T08:25:46-07:00February 17th, 2012|Federal Dispensary Attacks, Marijuana Crimes, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Obama’s War on Pot

Lawsuit Claims Prop 203 Provision Preventing Growing of Medical Marijuana within 25 Miles of a Dispensary is Unconstitutional

AZMMPS:  “a ‘motion for a preliminary injunction and memorandum of law in support thereof’ was filed in the United States District Court for the district of Arizona which will send the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act back to Federal Court. The lawsuit, HAYES vs ARIZONA has Governor Brewer named along side the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services Will Humble and Robert Halliday who is the director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety as well as Tom Horne the Arizona Attorney General. The Plaintiff is listed as Billy Hayes, the Co-Founder and former CEO of Arizona Cannabis Society, local medical marijuana advocate and also a well known medical marijuana cultivation consultant. The case itself is claiming a small portion of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) is unconstitutional, the section in question is being referred to as the ’25 Mile Rule’ and Hayes is looking to have it removed from the Law.”

By |2015-04-06T18:53:11-07:00February 17th, 2012|AZ Marijuana Law Lawsuits, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Lawsuit Claims Prop 203 Provision Preventing Growing of Medical Marijuana within 25 Miles of a Dispensary is Unconstitutional

Campassion First’s Medical Marijuana Grow Facility

MyFoxPhoenix.com:  “The Compassion First Caregiver Circle Cultivation Facility is located at 11th Ave and Deer Valley. There are 45 caregivers and each caregiver is assigned 5 patients and one tent of marijuana plants. They grow the marijuana, and once the mature plant is harvested, they distribute the correct dosage to their patients.”

Pot Cultivation Center Opens in Phoenix: MyFoxPHOENIX.com

By |2015-04-06T18:53:11-07:00February 17th, 2012|Stories & Articles, Video|Comments Off on Campassion First’s Medical Marijuana Grow Facility

Arizona Finalizing Medical Marijuana Dispensary Rules

Phoenix Business Journal:  “This week, the Arizona Department of Health Services is putting the finishing touches on the revised rules for medical marijuana dispensary applicants. . . . .ADHS Director Will Humble said he will set the date for when ADHS will begin accepting dispensary applications. He said he expects that date to be sometime in April. . . . Originally, the state health department had stringent financial requirements for applicants, such as no bankruptcy history, which the judge rejected. . . . ‘It will be more of a random selection now,’ Humble said.”

By |2012-02-17T06:38:56-07:00February 17th, 2012|Stories & Articles, Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Arizona Finalizing Medical Marijuana Dispensary Rules

Testing Pot in a Legal Vacuum

Los Angeles Times:  “Few standards apply to quality of marijuana, because the federal government considers all use illegal.  Only some top-end dispensaries test their products, and even they can’t be sure the results are reliable. Because all marijuana possession is illegal under federal law — and the Justice Department has been cracking down recently — the nascent labs are as unregulated and vulnerable to prosecution as dispensaries and growers. In Colorado, the one lab that tried to get a license from the Drug Enforcement Administration was promptly raided by that agency.  That very week, Los Angeles passed its marijuana ordinance, which required testing by “independent and certified” labs, without specifying who was supposed to do the certifying. Long Beach followed suit two months later. . . . The more prominent operations in California — including Steep Hill in Oakland, Halent in Sacramento and The Werc Shop in Los Angeles County — have recently formed the Assn. of California Cannabis Laboratories to set equipment standards and methodology and to give a seal of approval for those who comply.”

By |2012-02-14T06:39:39-07:00February 14th, 2012|California News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Marijuana Crimes, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Testing Pot in a Legal Vacuum

Feds Bust Delaware’s Medical Marijuana Law

Delaware Online:  “Feds say Del.’s dispensary plan could bring prosecution.  Delaware’s legalization of medical marijuana has fizzled in the wake of legal opinions that growers, distributors and state employees could be prosecuted under federal drug laws.  Gov. Jack Markell has suspended the regulation-writing and licensing process for medical marijuana dispensaries — effectively killing the program — and criticized the federal government for sending mixed signals on law enforcement”

 The Delaware United States Attorney office sent a letter to Delaware Governor Jack Markell dated February 9, 2012, that said in part:

“[G]rowing, distributing and possessing marijuana, in any capacity, other than as part of a federally authorized research program, is a violation of federal law regardless of state laws permitting such activities . . . . Moreover, those who engage in financial transactions involving the proceeds of such activities may also be in violation of federal money laundering statutes. . . . State employees who conduct activities mandated by the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act are not immune from liability under” the Controlled Substances Act”

Here is Governor Markell’s February 12, 2012, statement on this issue:

“I am very disappointed by the change in policy at the federal department of justice, as it requires us to stop implementation of the compassion centers.  To do otherwise would put our state employees in legal jeopardy and I will not do that.   Unfortunately, this shift in the federal position will stand in the way of people in pain receiving  help.  Our law sought to provide that in a manner that was both highly regulated and safe.”

By |2015-04-06T18:58:27-07:00February 13th, 2012|Federal Dispensary Attacks, Marijuana Crimes, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Feds Bust Delaware’s Medical Marijuana Law

Marijuana Dispensaries Renew Push to Open in East Maricopa County

East Valley Tribune:  “Tempe had more interest than any East Valley city last year when municipalities began sifting through applications for dispensary locations.  Mesa has also seen renewed interest, while Gilbert’s had a single inquiry. Chandler hasn’t had any new interest, and a city official said it’s unlikely a dispensary will find a place to open in that community despite the state’s medical marijuana program going forward.  The would-be dispensary owners flooded cities last year with applications, totaling more than 80 in the East Valley. Tempe was overwhelmed with about 50 applications, while Mesa fielded 35. Chandler and Gilbert had only a few applications per city. . . . Department of Health Services rules administrator Tom Salow said he doesn’t expect the agency will issue all of the 126 licenses this year that are available. Tribal nations will likely block the 18 dispensaries that the geographical system would set aside for them.”

By |2012-02-13T06:45:07-07:00February 13th, 2012|Stories & Articles, Zoning|Comments Off on Marijuana Dispensaries Renew Push to Open in East Maricopa County

Legislative Attacks on Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act

Its often been said that “Arizona is never more in danger than while the Legislature is in session.”  And as if to prove the old adage true, our august representatives are scheming to scuttle the Will of the People once more as regards medical marijuana.  Given that this is Medical Marijuana (activism) Week, now seems an appropriate time to review what we’re up against:

A chilling effect on recommending doctors?  HB 2035, sponsored by Legislative District (“LD”) 10 Representative Kimberly Yee (R), aims to do just that by threatening to charge physicians with “unprofessional conduct” if they recommend MMJ for anything other than an “accepted medical purpose.”  Accepted under whose definition?  It doesn’t say.

Rep Matt Heinz, LD 29 (D), a practicing family doctor, characterizes Yee’s bill as a “solution in search of a problem.”  Not surprisingly, its support runs along party lines, so it looks likely to go to the Governor for signing.

Another bill would prohibit community college or university students, faculty and staff from using or even carrying their medicine on campus.  HB 2349 by Representative Amanda Reeve (R) of LD 6 maintains that patients exercising their rights under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act puts these institutions at risk of losing their federal funding.  Nevermind that no such threat has been made, much less carried out, against educational institutions in any other medical marijuana state.

Saving the worst for last, the boldest attack upon both the spirit and letter of Prop 203 is HB 2350; it was also run by Rep. Reeve.  Note the past tense; the langauge of this particular outrage has since been replaced by another, totally unrelated bill – a funny bit of legislative business known as a “strike all amendment,” aka “striker.”  Strikers are a regular part of the process (although if more Arizonans knew about the practice they might well force and end to it).

HB 2350 sought to prohibit the “transfer of anything of value” in exchange for cannabis, thereby eliminating the “reasonable reimbursement” clause relied upon by caregivers – which would certainly cause problems for dispensaries as well.  Fortunately, this bill is no longer active, but understand that nothing is ever really and truly dead at the Lege…

Both Reeve bills almost certainly foul the Voter Protection Act of 1998, designed to provide a sturdy firewall against legislative mischief.  The VPA requires that a 2/3 majority (of both the House and Senate) support the measure, which, given the lopsided nature of our legislature, is not a high hurdle.  The other salient criterion, however, does protect that which the People have said they wanted: any bill amending a voter-approved initiative must further the purposes of the measure – a test House Bills 2349 and 2350 clearly fail.

So the campus prohibition bill, although likely to clear the legislative process and land on Brewer’s desk, is contrary to Arizona Constitution Article IV, Part 1, Sec. 1 – but it’ll take legal action to place the $64,000 question before a judge.  I hope someone with sufficiently deep pockets comes forward to press the case.

Advocacy: Americans For Safe Access (ASA) has some suggestions for this week’s advocacy activities.  I suggest placing an emphasis on the Arizona Legislature as well, for as former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill counseled, “all politics is local.”

Doug Banfelder is a commercial insurance agent specializing in the medical marijuana industry.  Reach him at dougb@psigllc.com; www.PremierDispensaryInsurance.com or 480-315-9051

By |2015-04-06T18:53:11-07:00February 12th, 2012|AZ Legislation, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Legislative Attacks on Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act

Explore a Huge Arizona Medical Marijuana Grow Operation

ABC 15.com:  “what does a ‘grow house’ look like?  ABC15 toured what is believed to be the largest growing operation in Arizona. . . . The home they grow their medical marijuana in looks perfectly normal from the outside, but inside there is an extremely sophisticated green house.”

By |2015-04-06T18:53:11-07:00February 10th, 2012|Stories & Articles, Video|Comments Off on Explore a Huge Arizona Medical Marijuana Grow Operation

2 Arizona Doctors Disciplined for Improperly Recommending Medical Pot

 Arizona Republic:  “State medical boards have disciplined two doctors who improperly recommended medical marijuana to hundreds of patients. . . . the Arizona Naturopathic Physicians Medical Board suspended Dr. Christine Strong, a licensed naturopathic physician, for failing to physically examine eight patients before certifying they qualified for the marijuana . . . . the Arizona Medical Board issued a letter of reprimand and consent to Dr. James W. Eisenberg for issuing 483 medical-marijuana certifications before checking prescription-drug histories”

By |2012-02-10T07:27:43-07:00February 10th, 2012|Medical Directors, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on 2 Arizona Doctors Disciplined for Improperly Recommending Medical Pot

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Applications to be Accepted by ADHS in Early April 2012

Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said this on his blog on February 8, 2012:

“As you know from earlier blog posts a judge ruled in a state case that had challenged our dispensary applicant selection criteria.  The judge’s decision basically struck down several of the selection criteria we had been planning to use to for competitive areas of the state (areas where there will be more than 1 applicant per Community Health Analysis Area.

Our teams are busy dotting the Is and crossing the Ts right now on an express rule package that would remove the dispensary selection criteria struck down (AZ residency, child support, previous bankruptcies etc.) and to set new dates to accept dispensary applications.  Our rule changes will focus solely on making adjustments to comply with the judge’s decision and to set a new timeline for accepting dispensary applications.

Our team is making good progress on the Rule package, and we expect to be finished this month (February).  I’ll keep you posted here, and I’ll let you know when the rule package is filed- including a link to the final set of rules.  We’re still on track to be able to accept dispensary applications in April.  We’d then have  about 45 days to review and award dispensary certificates- so we could potentially award up to 125 dispensary certificates by mid- to late-June. If someone is pretty much ready to go at that point, we could see medical marijuana dispensaries operating in July or August.”

By |2012-02-08T07:08:24-07:00February 8th, 2012|Stories & Articles, Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Medical Marijuana Dispensary Applications to be Accepted by ADHS in Early April 2012

Phoenix Pot Dispensary Request Put Off for 2nd Time

Arizona Republic:  “A medical-marijuana dispensary request in northeast Phoenix has been postponed a second time due to redtape in state government. . . . The applicant, Linda Sonder of American Healthcare Alternatives, needed a permit plus zoning variances because the site is closer to residences and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve than the city ordinance allows.”

By |2012-08-18T10:01:44-07:00February 8th, 2012|Stories & Articles, Zoning|Comments Off on Phoenix Pot Dispensary Request Put Off for 2nd Time

At Odds With The Space Between Medical Marijuana & Schools

Colorado KUNC radio:  “Federal prosecutors . . . targeted medical marijuana dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools for their first crackdown since hundreds of shops . . . began spreading across the state in 2009.  U.S. Attorney John Walsh cited a ‘dramatic increase in student abuse of marijuana’ in warning 23 dispensary operators to move within 45 days or face criminal action and seizure of their property. That deadline expires Feb. 27.  Scores of other dispensaries can expect shutdown notices soon. In all, Walsh now says he plans to target over 100 Colorado dispensaries located within 1,000 feet of a school, relying on federal law that creates stiffer penalties for any drug use near schools, playgrounds and places where young people gather.  The federal Drug-Free Schools Act applies to public and private schools from grades 1-12, along with both public and private colleges and universities.”

By |2012-08-25T08:06:10-07:00February 8th, 2012|Colorado News, Federal Dispensary Attacks, Marijuana Crimes, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on At Odds With The Space Between Medical Marijuana & Schools

Hundreds of Medical Marijuana Plants Move to Cultivation Center

KSAZ 10 TV:  “On Wednesday, over 50 registered caregivers moved the pot plants into grow tents at the Compassion First Caregiver Circle in preparation for its grand opening.”

The center is run by Gerald Gaines and his corporations called “Compassion First Caregiver Circle, Inc.” and the “Caregiver Circle North Phoenix COOP, Inc.”

By |2015-04-06T18:53:11-07:00February 2nd, 2012|Cannabis Clubs, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Hundreds of Medical Marijuana Plants Move to Cultivation Center

Legislation would make Medical Pot Illegal for Students Living on Campus

Azdailysun.com:  “State lawmakers are moving today to deny university and college students living on campus the right to use medical marijuana even if they have the legally required doctor’s recommendation for the drug.  Legislation crafted by Rep. Amanda Reeve, R-Phoenix, would make it illegal not only to use but even to possess marijuana on the campus of any public or private post-secondary institution. That would include not only the state university system and network of community colleges but also various private schools that offer degrees or certificates.  And that means not only keeping it out of classrooms and open areas.  HB2349, set for debate in the House Committee on Higher Education, also would preclude students from using the drug in dorm rooms, even if the person is drinking an infusion rather than lighting up a joint. And it would mean not having the drug among personal possession for use somewhere off campus.”

Read “Bill to Prevent Marijuana on Educational Campuses Advances in Legislature.”

By |2017-02-12T07:38:04-07:00February 2nd, 2012|AZ Legislation, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Legislation would make Medical Pot Illegal for Students Living on Campus

4 Bid for Pot Facility in Coolidge

Coolidge Examiner:  “four separate parties have already expressed interest in a [Coolidge] city location.  ‘Three of whom identified locations in the Safeway plaza,’ . . . Last April the city council adopted a ordinance amendment that provided the process applicants used.

By |2015-04-06T18:53:11-07:00February 2nd, 2012|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on 4 Bid for Pot Facility in Coolidge

“That’s Not How Lawsuits Work:” Read Transcript of Federal Medical Marijuana Hearing That Smoked Jan Brewer’s Lawsuit

Phoenix New Times:  “Followers of the highs and lows of Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act should enjoy the newly released transcript of the federal court hearing that ended Governor Jan Brewer’s anti-pot lawsuit.  The January 4 dismissal of Brewer’s lawsuit, which was clearly intended to thwart a new medical marijuana law, came after a December 12 hearing that didn’t go well for one of Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s lawyers. . . . [The Judge told Tom Horne’s lawyer] ‘That’s not how lawsuits work . . . . The plaintiff takes a position and doesn’t take two diametrically opposed positions. You have to advocate your position’.”

Transcript of Bolton Pot Hearing

By |2012-02-01T06:38:34-07:00February 1st, 2012|AZ Marijuana Law Lawsuits, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on “That’s Not How Lawsuits Work:” Read Transcript of Federal Medical Marijuana Hearing That Smoked Jan Brewer’s Lawsuit