Phoenix New Times: “Allan Sobol, the brash medical-marijuana marketer who got himself busted last year for opening a compassion club, has pleaded guilty to selling pot along with three former club employees. . . . Hated by many in the industry for his cut-throat business tactics, he was an early adopter of the compassion/cannabis club movement, opening a storefront location in which qualified medical-marijuana patients could join a club for a stiff fee and receive ‘free’ marijuana in return.”
West Valley Opinions: “Although bragging rights come with being the first licensed medical-marijuana dispensary in the state, the Glendale dispensary operators should keep in mind that all eyes will be watching them once they open their doors. . . . we are thankful AZDHS and its Director Will Humble will also keep close watch on the dispensary.”
Arizona Daily Star: “Tucson’s first medical marijuana dispensary has received state approval to open. Now the owner has to decide on a date. ‘Right now we haven’t decided when we will open up,’ said Rouben Beglarian. ‘We’re going to have a couple meetings with staff members and see when they feel comfortable.’ Beglarian’s dispensary, Green Medicine, 112 S. Kolb Road at Broadway, in the Gaslight Plaza Shopping Center, passed inspection Tuesday. He received an email Wednesday from the Arizona Department of Health Services confirming he is allowed to open for business. He expects to start selling before the end of the year.”
azfamily.com: “Arizona’s medical marijuana laws and traffic laws could be headed for a collision, and drawn-out court battles could be on the horizon. This on the eve of the opening of the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary in Glendale.”
SF Weekly: “It’s hard to understand the federal government’s plan on marijuana. First, President Barack Obama helped encouraged a boom in cultivation and in dispensing when he said states were in charge and he wasn’t going to get involved. Then his Justice Department shut down hundreds of dispensaries across the state — including nine in San Francisco, a third of the city’s total — in a crackdown that began Oct. 7, 2011. Over the summer, the feds took aim at the biggest fish, Oakland’s Harborside Health Center (who will meet the feds in court Dec. 13). Then something funny happened: The crackdown stopped. Cannabis dispensaries opened up in San Francisco without issue. One just opened in downtown, steps from Market Street. The feds did nothing. So now, one of the nine shut down by federal pressure has simply unlocked the door, flicked on the lights, and opened for business again. Is the crackdown over, or with small amounts of marijuana legalized for all adults in Colorado and Washington, do the feds simply have better things to do?
Daily News: “While Aaron Sandusky and his supporters contend he committed no crime under California state law, he stands to spend many years — and possibly the rest of his life — behind bars. Sandusky was president of Upland-based G3 Holistic, a medical marijuana dispensary, which in California, is legal. In October, however, he was convicted in federal court of eight counts related to growing, possessing and intending to sell marijuana for profit. His case, one of a handful in which federal prosecutors have charged and convicted purveyors of medical marijuana in states where such use is legal, highlights a fundamental conflict between state and federal law at a time when public opposition to marijuana is waning.”
On November 19, 2012, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services Will Humble wrote the following on his blog:
“Last Thursday I announced in a blog post that our team had just returned from a field inspection for a dispensary applicant in Glendale, that there were no major deficiencies, and that we had awarded the dispensary an “Approval to Operate”. Today the Applicant asked for a short delay in the effective date for their Operating License in order to ensure that things run smoothly when they officially begin operations. Our team approved a delay in their license’s effective date this afternoon.
Once the new dispensary begins its operations, we will no longer be approving “requests to cultivate” among new (and renewing) cardholders in most of the metro area… because self-grow (12 plants) is only allowed when the patient lives more than 25 miles from the nearest operating dispensary according to the law. The vast majority of the Valley is within 25 miles of this new (but not yet operating) dispensary.
As an FYI… once a dispensary is operating, it is required by our rules to be “… operating and available to dispense medical marijuana to qualifying patients and designated caregivers at least 30 hours weekly between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.”
Medical Marijuana & States Rights: Pot Dispensary Owner Faces 10 Years in Jail for Violating Federal Laws
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin: “While Aaron Sandusky and his supporters contend he committed no crime under California state law, he stands to spend many years – and possibly the rest of his life – behind bars. Sandusky was president of Upland-based G3 Holistic, a medical marijuana dispensary, which in California, is legal. In October, however, he was convicted in federal court of eight counts related to growing, possessing and intending to sell marijuana for profit. His case, one of a handful in which federal prosecutors have charged and convicted purveyors of medical marijuana in states where such use is legal, highlights a fundamental conflict between state and federal law at a time when public opposition to marijuana is waning.”
Related story: Many options in Sandusky sentencing
Catch up: Previous medical marijuana coverage
Photo gallery: Aaron Sandusky legal battles with medicinal marijuana
Special Section: Marijuana
Yuma Sun: “Medical marijuana users in the Tucson area may have less than 48 hours to ensure they can keep growing their own, legally, at least for another year. State health officials are scheduled to perform a final inspection Tuesday at a proposed medical marijuana dispensary on the city’s east side. That will pave the way for the owners to start selling the drug legally — at least under state law — to cardholders. But the other side of the equation is that the 2010 voter-approved medical marijuana law says only those who are at least 25 miles from a licensed dispensary are entitled to cultivate their own medicine.”
Market Watch: “A company that creates medical-marijuana dispensing machines says its stock is getting way too high. Medbox MDBX -90.24% shares surged 3,000% this week — from roughly $4 Monday to $215 Thursday — before falling to $100 after executives sought to dampen investor enthusiasm. . . . The stock, which fell around 50% in early trading Friday, still hovers at $100. “We believe an appropriate trading range is between $5 and $10 but, alas, the market will do what it will do,” says Medbox founder Vincent Mehdizadeh. “
Phoenix New Times: “Arizona Organix at 5301 West Glendale Avenue has become the first medical-marijuana dispensary to be approve by the state. . . . The store can now begin selling marijuana to qualified patients legally, under Arizona law. Unfortunately for Arizona’s 30,000-plus qualified patients, though, the store has no plan to open immediately.”
Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, posted the following on his blog on November 15, 2012:
“Our team just returned from a field inspection for a dispensary applicant in Glendale. There were no major deficiencies, and we awarded the dispensary an “approval to operate” late this afternoon. This is the first dispensary approval to operate we’ve issued in the State. By law, we’re not allowed to publicly disclose the address.
The fact that a dispensary is now licensed in the Valley also means that the “self-grow” part of the law will change on Friday. Beginning tomorrow we’ll be declining new “requests to cultivate” among new cardholders in most of the metro area… because self-grow (12 plants) is only allowed when the patient lives more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary. The vast majority of the Valley is within 25 miles of this new dispensary.
We’re also adding a new feature to our website to help people figure out if they live within 25 miles of a dispensary. Because of the changes to the system, we’ just took the it offline. We’ll work on it over the weekend and most of the application process should be up and running on Monday.”
See also “Medical pot dispensary gets AZ’s first approval to open.”
kvoa.com: “Opening day for marijuana dispensaries all over Arizona keeps getting pushed back. In 2010, voters approved a measure allowing the sale and use of medical marijuana in Tucson. To use it, a patient must have a medical marijuana identification card, but still no open dispensaries and card holders have had to pay two hundred fifty dollars a year to keep their card active.”
The Atlantic: “The federal government is on the wrong side of science over medical marijuana. Until that changes, there’s no chance for legalization. Colorado’s newly-passed Amendment 64 contemplates a brave new world in which adults in the state will be able to lawfully smoke small amounts of marijuana purchased from licensed (and heavily taxed) local retailers. But that world isn’t even scheduled to begin until 2014, and only then if there are significant changes in the many assorted ways in which federal law criminalizes recreational marijuana possession and use. There is the legal component to the issue. There is the political component to it. . . . But there is another conflict here that’s been splayed open by the ballot initiatives, one which is more fundamental to the future of lawful marijuana use than any argument the feds will now use to stop the state initiatives. It’s the ongoing conflict over the science of marijuana, over the quality of proof of its medicinal values, which is central to the coming court fights. Until the Drug Enforcement Administration changes its marijuana classification, until lawmakers recognize its therapeutic uses, reformers like those in Colorado and Washington will be crushed in court.”
dailycamera.com: “District Attorney Stan Garnett will dismiss all pending criminal cases of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, saying the overwhelming support for Amendment 64 in Boulder County makes it highly unlikely a jury would ever reach a guilty verdict in any of those cases. ‘You’ve seen an end to mere possession cases in Boulder County under my office,’ Garnett said Wednesday, becoming the first Colorado district attorney to drop pot cases because Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 earlier this month.”
- Denver joins Boulder in dropping prosecution of limited pot possession
- Weld County to continue marijuana prosecutions
- Boulder-area police debate how to handle marijuana in light of conflicting laws
- Amendment 64 could shake up medical marijuana industry
azdailysun.com: “It’s been a year since David Grandon opened the nonprofit Grassroots Medical Center on Switzer Canyon Road to provide medical services and a marijuana exchange for card-holding patients. He had high hopes then that he would eventually transition his operation into a full-blown medical marijuana dispensary. Grandon is a well-known Flagstaff artist who is currently working on a large mural at the Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy. Those hopes were dashed in early August, when the medical marijuana dispensary permit was awarded to someone else in the state lottery amid accusations of rule violations.”
Arizona Republic: “Arizona pediatricians are concerned that the state’s medical-marijuana law is being used to treat the ailments of pregnant women, potentially harming fetuses. Members of the Arizona chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics want to stop the practice and point to one incident in which a mother in labor told hospital officials that she had received a medical-marijuana card during pregnancy and had been using the drug.”
The Atlantic: “The marijuana reform movement made history this week, when voters in Colorado and Washington passed ballot initiatives legalizing the possession and sale of cannabis for purely recreational use. . . . The new laws would treat marijuana much like alcohol and tobacco, setting the stage for a large scale, tightly regulated, and generously taxed commercial industry worth some untold millions of dollars. Simply put, these would be the most lax marijuana laws in the world — smack dab in the middle of the country that invented the modern drug war. The big question now is: Will Obama let it happen?“
Seattle Times: “King and Pierce County prosecutors are dismissing more than 220 misdemeanor marijuana cases in response to Tuesday’s vote to decriminalize small amounts of pot. In King County, 175 cases are being dismissed involving people 21 and older and possession of one ounce or less. I-502 makes one ounce of marijuana legal on Dec. 6, but King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg decided to apply I-502 retroactively. ‘Although the effective date of I-502 is not until December 6, there is no point in continuing to seek criminal penalties for conduct that will be legal next month,’ Satterberg said in a statement.”
The Weed Blog: “Four Ballot Initiatives Fail to Secure the Rights of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Exist in Four San Diego Cities While a Landmark California Appellate Court Decision Defines Dispensaries as Legal. The San Diego District Attorney (DA) and failed mayoral candidate, Bonnie Dumanis’ modus operandi has been to charge all dispensary operators with crimes, making no attempt to apply the state’s medical marijuana laws in her investigations. She relies on her own interpretation of the law (interpretations that have been squarely rejected by appellate courts throughout the state), questionable tactics designed to keep evidence from jurors’ eyes, and continues to prosecute case after case, at great public expense.
The Arizona Department of Health Services issued its first annual report on the state of Arizona’s medical marijuana law. The report is titled “Report to Arizona, Department of Health Services: First Annual Medical Marijuana Report A.R.S. §36-2809.” Here are some statements made in the report:
During April 2011 to June 2012, ADHS received a total of 41,476 applications and approved approximately 98% of the applications (40,463). Out of the 40,463 approved applications, 33,060 (82%) were new applications and 3,689 (9%) were application for renewals. There were a total of 29,804 active cardholders, which included 28,977 qualifying patients and 827 caregivers. Of the total qualifying patients, approximately 26% (n = 7,702) were female qualifying patients and of the total caregivers, 20% (n = 168) were female caregivers. During April 2011 to June 2012 slightly over 80% (n = 24,191) of the qualifying patients and caregivers (n = 701) were authorized to cultivate.
The majority of the qualifying patients (n = 22,357; 77%) had one debilitating medical condition with the remaining 23% reporting two or more conditions. Approximately 70% of the qualifying patients (n = 19,631) indicated “severe and chronic pain” as the only debilitating medical condition. Four-hundred seventy physicians provided certifications to 28,977 patients during this time period (a median value of two certifications per physician; however, 10 physicians certified 13,336 [~46%] of all patients).
From May 14 through May 25, 2012, ADHS accepted applications for non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries.
ADHS held a lottery on August 7, 2012, and a total of 98 registration certificates were allocated through this process.
During the time period for which the data have been analyzed provided in this report (April 14, 2011 through June 15, 2012), there were zero DA Registry Identification Cards issued.
Several lawsuits have been filed concerning the implementation of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. A scanned copy of the complaint for each lawsuit is available on the ADHS
website. As of the date of this Annual Report, the current lawsuits include:
- Johanna Dispensaries v. ADHS: LC2012-000544
- Charise Voss Arfa v. ADHS: CV2012-014816
- Arizona Organix v. ADHS: CV2012-054733
- White Mountain Health Center v. ADHS: CV2012-053585
- Serenity v. ADHS: LC2011-000410
- Elements v. ADHS: CV2011-011288
- Compassion First v. Arizona: CV2011-011290
- Sobol v. Arizona: CV2011-053246
- Arizona v. 2811: CV2011-014508
- Arizona v. USA: 11-01072
Medical Marijuana Fund Program Inception through FY 2012 4/14/2011 to 6/30/2012
Application fee for a Registry Card $5,525,277
Application fee for a Dispensary $2,420,000
Total Revenues $7,945,277
Salaries, Wages and Benefits $570,972
Operating Expenditures $1,505,023
Capital Equipment Expenditures $304,464
Total Expenditures $2,380,459
Fund Balance $5,564,818
Dailybreeze.com: “State, county and local authorities continued with raids on medical marijuana businesses this week, citing the city’s push to see such organizations cease all operations in Long Beach. One raid was carried out Tuesday and two more operations were held Wednesday, resulting in 10 arrests . . . . The three raids bring the the total number of dispensaries shut down within the past week to seven. Last week’s operations saw 15 people arrested”
iol news: “US – Votes making Colorado and Washington the first US states to legalise marijuana for recreational use could be short-lived victories for pot backers because the federal government will fight them, two former US drug control officials said on Wednesday. They said the federal government could sue to block parts of the measures or send threatening letters to marijuana shops, followed up by street-level clampdowns similar to those targeting medical marijuana dispensaries the government suspects are fronts for drug traffickers.”
Time: “In April 2011, former Mexican President Vicente Fox sat before an audience at the University of Colorado at Boulder and in his baritone voice and frank tone urged Americans to legalize marijuana. His thrust: it could help enervate Mexico’s violent drug cartels. ‘The drug consumer in the U.S. yields billions of dollars, money that goes back to Mexico to bribe police and money that buys guns,’ Fox said. ‘So when you question yourselves about what is going on in Mexico, it depends very much on what happens in this nation.’ At the time, many pundits warned that legalization was a nonstarter. But on Tuesday, voters in Colorado and Washington state did exactly what Fox called for: they approved landmark amendments to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.”
New York Times: “TUESDAY’S election was a victory for the marijuana lobby: Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize recreational use, while Massachusetts will now allow doctors to recommend it as medicine. It’s a movement around which many Democrats have coalesced. . . . But Democrats should think twice about becoming the party of pot. I’m a lifelong partisan Democrat, but I’ve also spent 25 years as a doctor treating drug abusers, and I know their games. They’re excellent con artists.”
newser: “Those who have argued for decades that legalizing and taxing weed would be better than a costly, failed U.S. drug war have their chance to prove it, as Colorado and Washington became the first states to allow pot for recreational use. While the measures earned support from broad swaths of the electorate in both states Tuesday, they are likely to face resistance from federal drug warriors. As of Wednesday, authorities did not say whether they would challenge the new laws. Pot advocates say a fight is exactly what they want.”
Daily Tahoe Tribune: “Federal prosecutors have formally charged former South Lake Tahoe medical marijuana dispensary owner Gennaro ‘Gino’ DiMatteo with two weed-related crimes. In a criminal complaint unsealed Monday, DiMatteo is charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and manufacturing at least 100 marijuana plants. He faces between five and 40 years in prison for each charge.”
azmarijuana.com: “October 19, 2012, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon heard arguments made by Maricopa County Attorney William Montgomery (himself) and by Deputy Attorney General Charles Grube, for Tom Horne, challenging the viability of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. An explanation of how we got to this point can be found in my editorial entitled: The Most Important Medical Marijuana Lawsuit in Recent History? Judge Gordon, my co-counsel Ezekiel Edwards of the ACLU, and even the attorneys challenging the law and me were all well-prepared.”
Medicine Dispensing Systems, Inc. and Kind Clinics, LLC Sue Over Alleged Defamation of Vending Machines
Arkansas Matters.com: “The Arkansas Family Council Action Committee has been sued over statements earlier this week about what it called ‘marijuana vending machines.’ Medicine Dispensing Systems, Inc. (MDS) and Kind Clinics, LLC filed suit in Federal Court in Little Rock this morning, citing ‘false allegations’ by Family Council President Jerry Cox, a staunch opponent of Issue 5, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act.”
The complaint alleges:
“Defendants made defamatory statements about the MDS. Defendants’ website refers a reader to the medbox website, and used a replica of the MDS. These statements were published on the Defendants’ website and numerous newspapers and articles on the world wide web. Furthermore, Mr. Cox gave several interviews portraying Plaintiffs’ products as “vending machines” that sell marijuana without any prescription to the general public and at convenience stores. These statements are absolutely false. As a result ofthe Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiffs suffered damages as described above. Defendants’ conduct also injured Plaintiffs and diminished their goodwill.”
Defendants made defamatory statements about the MDS. Defendants’ website refers a reader to the medbox website, and used a replica of the MDS. These statements were published on the Defendants’ website and numerous newspapers and articles on the world wide web. Furthermore, Mr. Cox gave several interviews portraying Plaintiffs’ products as “vending machines” that sell marijuana without any prescription to the general public and at convenience stores. These statements are absolutely false. As a result ofthe Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiffs suffered damages as described above. Defendants’ conduct also injured Plaintiffs and diminished their goodwill.
See “Marijuana vending machine company sues AR Family Council” that states: “The company that produces medical marijuana vending machines sued Family Council Action Committee and Jerry Cox on Friday for defamation, negligence and trademark violations related to a press conference earlier this week.”
Check out the Complaint and other legal documents filed with the federal district court:
|Medbox vs Family Council Action Commitee & Jerry Cox (710.9KB)|
|Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (91.7KB)|
|Brief in Support of Temporary Restraining Order (188.5KB)|
Tahoe Daily Tribune: “Former South Lake Tahoe medical marijuana dispensary owner Gennaro ‘Gino’ DiMatteo faces federal charges after being arrested prior to a court hearing in Placerville Friday. . . . A statement from the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office regarding the arrest does not specify the nature of the federal charges and little information on the arrest could be located Friday. Lauren Horwood, spokeswoman for prosecutors in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, said on Friday that the federal criminal complaint against DiMatteo is sealed.
Courthouse News Service: “A licensed medical marijuana provider sued the Justice Department and DEA, claiming that their illegal crusade threatens to cost thousands of patients their means to acquire the painkilling drug legally. No Grey Sky and members of its dispensary co-op seek an injunction against the Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, whose agents raided the dispensary’s downtown store this month.”