What is the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association and Why Is Will Humble Helping It Raise Money?

Today I got an email from info@azmma.org.  The message said

“Seeking a cultivation and product solution to meet the needs of your dispensary? Then attend the Medical Marijuana Industry Forums this week, hosted by the Marijuana Policy Project and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, and sponsored by [deleted]. . . . attendees will have the opportunity to meet with AzMMA Partners who can help contribute to the business plan, DHS application, and actual operation of dispensaries.  Partners providing insurance, employee benefits, product testing, banking and credit card payment services, security, and more.”

The message concluded with this statement,

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Association is a non-profit, membership-based, professional association that seeks to advance interests of Arizona’s medical marijuana profession and the patients it serves.”

On Saturday I got another email message from the same sender that startedNeed banking services for your dispensary?” and then proceeded to peddle its banking partner.  I am confused.  Is the AzMMA a “non-profit, membership-based, professional association that seeks to advance interests of Arizona’s medical marijuana profession,” a sales and marketing organization or is it even a legal entity recognized by the State of Arizona?

One thing is certain – the AzMMA is not is a legally created Arizona corporation or a nonprofit professional association.  Although Joe Yuhas either reserved the name “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association” or filed Articles of Incorporation for an entity with that name on March 8, 2011, to date no corporation has been formed in Arizona with that name.  Nor has an entity with that name formed outside Arizona registered to do business in Arizona.  I just checked the Arizona Corporation Commission’s website and it shows that the Arizona Corporation Commission is working on Articles of Incorporation filed on March 22, 2011, and that it’s time to review documents filed on an expedited basis is five business days.  Check the ACC’s corporate status website for yourself and see if you can find an entity formed in Arizona or registered to do business in Arizona under the name “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association.”

The AzMMA’s emails and its website claim it is a “professional association.”  It’s website even claims that is was formed in 2010 shortly after the passage of Proposition 203.  Technically, even if it were an  ACC approved corporation the AzMMA could not be a professional association under Arizona law.  The terms “professional association” and “professional corporation” under Arizona’s statutory law refer to a specific type of corporation formed pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes Section 10-2201 et seq.  Section 10-2211, states:

a corporation may elect professional corporation status under section 10-2210 solely for the purpose of rendering professional services, including services ancillary to them, and solely within a single profession.”

Arizona’s professional corporation statutes only allow certain professionals such as doctors, lawyers, Realtors, and accountants to form an Arizona professional association and the corporation’s activities are limited to practicing the profession through its licensed professionals.  I have no idea why the AzMMA wants to be or claims to be a “professional association.”

Another thing I noticed is that the AzMMA is very stealthy.  When it sent letters to the Arizona Department of Health Services commenting on the proposed rules, the AzMMA had a graphical logo and its name on the letterhead, but no address or phone number.  The AzMMA’s website does not have an address or a phone number or even a name of anybody associated with the organization.  Why the secrecy?  Why can’t the public know where to find the AzMMA and who its leaders are?

For some baffling reason the AzMMA seems to be the media’s go-to quote-machine whenever something happens related to Arizona medical marijuana.  For example, the Phoenix New Times, the Arizona Capitol Times and the Daily Courier all called Andrew Myers of the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association” for comments when DHS released the final rules on March 28, 2011.  Perhaps the story writers should do a little investigative journalism and find out more about the secretive and not quite able to incorporation AzMMA.   You would think that a reporter would do a little fact checking before writing a story and quoting a person who claims to be part of a nonprofit association that in reality is not a validly existing Arizona entity.

Tomorrow and the next day the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association and the Marijuana Policy Project are sponsoring a four hour forum with six speakers who will talk about Arizona’s medical marijuana laws.  Will Humble is one of the speakers.  Why is Will Humble providing his name and the authority of Arizona Department of Health Services in assisting the AzMMA to make a buck?  The price of admission is $300.  Not bad for a  self-proclaimed “nonprofit association.”  The sign-up page for the forum is on the Marijuana Policy Project’s website.  It says, “If your company wants to sponsor this pair of events for $5,000, please email MPP at RobKampia@mpp.org.”  Again, not too shabby for a “nonprofit association.”

Besides the AzMMA, there are four sponsors (4 x $5,000 – $20,000) for the event:

  • Gammage & Burnham law firm – It’s providing an election law attorney (?) and two zoning attorneys (?) as forum speakers.
  • TAG Employer Services was founded by Ron Bleich and Jack Biltis in 2003
  • National Cannabis Industry Association whose board of directors includes Joe Yuhas (of Riester and the AzMMA), Rob Kampia (of the Marijuana Policy Project) and Ken Kulow (of Chameleon Glass and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Industry Association).  Kampia and Yuhas are speakers at the forum.
  • Medicine Dispensing Systems – distributor of the marijuana vending machine.

It appears that the forum may be a way for MPP to raise money for its own use.  One of MPP’s stated purposes is to “Change state laws to reduce or eliminate penalties for the medical and non-medical use of marijuana.”  Whether or not you agree with MPP’s purpose, it just doesn’t seem right for Will Humble and ADHS to assist MPP and AzMMA or any organization to raise money for their private purposes.

Question for Mr. Humble:  If another fledgling Arizona medical marijuana industry association (there are a lot of these outfits vying to become the industry’s support organization) were to ask you to speak, would you speak  for 30 – 60 minutes so it could charge sponsors $5,000 and attendees $300?  If not, why do it for the secretive AzMMA?

 

By |2019-06-14T08:24:57-07:00April 3rd, 2011|Stories & Articles|5 Comments

Pot Poll: Support for Larger Grow Facilities and Residency Requirement for Pot-Shop Owners

Phoenix New Times:  “Most Arizona residents prefer larger cultivation facilities for medical pot and residency requirements for dispensary owners, says a poll commissioned by the folks who brought you Prop 203.  Joe Yuhas of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association spoke of the poll results today at the medical marijuana rules hearing in Tempe, and gave us a handout afterward. Yuhas is a partner of the Riester PR firm, and he and Andrew Myers have been the most visible supporters of the state’s new medical marijuana law.”

By |2011-02-16T07:45:50-07:00February 16th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Pot Poll: Support for Larger Grow Facilities and Residency Requirement for Pot-Shop Owners

Will Humble & Andrew Myers on KJZZ Radio

Listen to the audio of Steve Goldstein’s February 4, 2011,  interview of Will Humble and Andrew Myers on NPR, KJZZ (91.5 FM) radio.  Here is my summary of the interview.  Will Humble said:

  • Arizona Department of Health Services has three goals in drafting the rules.

1.  Disperse dispensaries so areas with fewer people will have better access to a dispensary

2.  Spread dispensaries throughout the state so as to minimize the ability of people to grow because they do not live within 25 miles of a dispensary

3.  Prevent the clustering of dispensaries in the urban core

  • Dispersing dispensaries throughout Arizona using the Community Health Analysis Area (CHAA) is the “perfect system”to accomplish these three objectives.
  • He doesn’t want to “overburden” communities with the clustering of a lot of dispensaries in one area because it creates problems.
  • DHS’ primary objective is to keep marijuana use for medicinal purposes rather than recreational use, which is what happened in several other states that legalized medical marijuana.  Twelve doctors in Colorado wrote 75 percent of recommendations.
  • DHS will go after doctors who primarily write for recreational users rather than for medicinal purposes.
  • No clue as to how many applications for dispensaries will be filed.
  • Ajo is in a desirable CHAA because it is an inexpensive place to grow even though the its CHAA a has small population.
  • Cities that adopted zoning before January 31, 2011, need to look at CHAA map and revisit their zoning to take the CHAAs into consideration.

Here’s my take on what Will Humble’s want-a-be-aid Andrew Myers said in the joint interview:

  • He loves the second draft of the rules.  Will Humble is awesome.
  • He is concerned about the selection process.  Myers wants dispensaries to picked by a “qualitative approach” instead of a lottery, but it could cause litigation.  AzMMA will propose a qualitative picking method.
  • When asked if he is concerned that the lottery process could result in the wrong people getting involved?  Myers said the selection process is very important.  A lottery encourages people to submit many applications.

At this point Will Humble added that the lottery selection method is his pragmatic choice.  ADHS’  budget was cut 43% over the last three years.  He doesn’t want ADHS  to be in a dispute resolution phase with people who think their application is better than another applicant that won a license.  ADHS doesn’t have the resources to examine every application and issue licenses based on quality of the applicant.

The interviewer asked the two men he was interviewing if there is any truth to allegations that Andrew Myers and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association are in cahoots with Will Humble and ADHS.  Will said he learned that if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say it.  Andrew then said the allegation is ridiculous.  For more on this topic see “Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Declares War on Arizona Department of Health Services, Marijuana Policy Project & the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association.”

To learn more about the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, read “What is the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association?

By |2011-02-06T09:44:24-07:00February 6th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Will Humble & Andrew Myers on KJZZ Radio

What is the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association?

Something called the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association” (AzMMA) has gotten a lot of publicity in the Phoenix area ostensibly as an Arizona medical marijuana support group, but it is not clear what the AzMMA is or if it even exists.  In December a lot of people, including me, attended a four hour talk presented by the AzMMA on Arizona’s Proposition 203 and the new medical marijuana law.  The AzMMA charged me an admission fee of $300.

I checked the Arizona Corporation Commission’s database today and found that there is no entity formed in Arizona called the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association.  On October 10, 2010, a firm called Suzette M. Brown, PC, PO Box 11528, Glendale, Arizona 85308, apparently filed Articles of Organization for a limited liability company to be called the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, LLC.”  However, this company has not yet been approved and does not currently exist.  The Arizona Corporation Commission says that there is a potential conflict with an entity name reservation for the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Corporation” obtained by Curtis A. Shelton on October 19, 2010.

A bigger problem, however, for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, LLC, is that Arizona Revised Statutes Section 29-602 prohibits an Arizona limited liability company from having the word “association” in its name.  If the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association wants to be an Arizona entity, it must form a corporation.  Curtis Shelton currently has first dibs to the name until his name reservation expires on February 17, 2011.

What I cannot tell from the record is if either of the above Arizona Corporation Commission filings were for our beloved, but non-existent Arizona Medical Marijuana Association manned by Andrew Myers and Joe Yuhas.  Is their AzMMA the third group that wants what apparently is a very popular name?

There is a website at www.azmma.org that apparently is a website for the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, but there is no there there.  This site lacks meaningful content and consists of a single page with a small amount of text.  The homepage states:

“During its formative stage, the AzMMA invites you to participate in our organizational efforts.”

This statement is apparently total BS.  On December 27, 2010, and every day for the next three days I called Joe Yuhas who the newspapers say is the AzMMA man.  I wanted to discuss a very disturbing statement that one of my clients attributed to Mr. Y about the proposed Arizona Department of Health Services rules.  Despite leaving daily messages for four days asking Joe to call me, he blew me off and to this date has not returned my call.  In practicing law in Arizona for 31 years, I don’t ever remember calling somebody that many times and not getting the courtesy of a call back.

Why do Myers and Yuhas continue to say they are involved with a non-existent entity?  Who are the members of this non-existent entity?  Are there any members besides Myers and Yuhas?  Where are its offices?  The January 7, 2011, cover letter Andrew Myers sent to Will Humble with the AzMMA’s comments to the first draft of the rules does not have an address or phone number for Myers or the AzMMA.  Does anybody care? Myers letter refers to the leadership of AzMMA, but who are its leaders and why is their identity not made public?

If the leadership of this want-a-be organization cannot form an Arizona entity for their group and if the group does make its address and phone number and leadership public, why do Myers and Yuhas have what appears to be a very close relationship with Will Humble and the Arizona Department of Health Services and why does the media give Myers and the AzMMA so much press and credibility?  Just yesterday Will Humble and Andrew Myers were interviewed simultaneously on Phoenix’ National Public Radio affiliate.  What a co-inky-dink!  Read about and listen to the February 4, 2011, radio interview at “Will Humble & Andrew Myers on KJZZ Radio.”

P.S.  Alan Sobol and his Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals also are not happy with the AzMMA.  See “Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Declares War on Arizona Department of Health Services, Marijuana Policy Project & the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association.”  Beware of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Corporation and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, LLC and a semi-secret club that really likes those names!

By |2019-06-14T08:24:52-07:00February 5th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on What is the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association?