Alan Sobol of the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals posted an article on his website in which he alleges that certain groups are controlling the issuance of licenses to operate an Arizona medical marijuana dispensary. He said “The fix is in.”
Alan Sobol: “AZDHS will start accepting Dispensary applications during the month of June 2011. This gives applicants a maximum of 75 days or less from the date of publication of the Final Rules to obtain zoning approval, which in most cases is virtually impossible. . . . Under Title 36, only the Arizona Health Department is authorized to select the Dispensary owners. Under the aforementioned scenario, it appears that AZDHS has deferred its authority to select the Dispensary owners to the City of Scottsdale . . . . This is a scenario that will be repeated all across Arizona. This is a scam!!
As you may know we called for the Resignation or removal of Mr. Humble last week, (See April 11th 2011 seed2successblog.com.)
On April 15 2011 Mr. Humble was questioned by the Arizona Business Journal concerning our removal demands. His peculiar response raises legitimate questions of his competency. When asked about our resignation demands Mr. Humble responded;
“My staff screens a group’s reputation before accepting any engagements, I have received numerous requests for speaking engagements but there is one group I have rejected: the Arizona Association of Dispensary professionals, Inc. led by Director Allan Sobol”.
Now Mr. Humble did not elaborate on his reasons but in contradiction to that statement he did acknowledge that he agreed to speak at the Green Relief Expo, an event whose primary sponsor was Marijuana Marketing Strategies, llc, also Directed by yours truly, Allan Sobol. What Humble failed to tell the press was that when he was first asked to speak at The Green Relief Expo back in February he REFUSED. Only after we accused him of special treatment for his friends at MPP and AZMMA did Humble reverse himself and agree to speak. However, his offer to speak was made with conditions, (conditions not required with MPP and AZMMA).
Apparently afraid of what might be asked from a group not controlled by his friends; his terms to attend the event were that he would not take any verbal questions from the audience. (The only speaker at the EXPO with that condition). Instead, Humble stated, he would only answer written questions submitted by the audience, AND ONLY after the questions were screened and censored by his handlers. Humble’s behavior and comments are further evidence of his bias. Clearly these comments were intended to promote the interest of his friends at AZMMA.
Let’s get the facts straight. In November 2010 I asked Mr. Humble to speak at a FREE educational seminar. The response I received from his staff was that Humble would not meet with anyone who has a financial interest in the Dispensary program. ( Although I explained to them that we would not be applying for a license.)
The Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals, Inc is a legally formed legitimate Association authorized under the laws of the State Of Arizona. We are in fact Arizona’s largest Medical Marijuana Industry Trade Association consisting of over 7000 members.
On the other hand, The Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, AZMMA, is an offshoot of MPP, and the only action ever taken by that Association was when, on March 8th 2011, Joe Yuhas reserved the name of the proposed entity with the Arizona Corporation Commission. This name filing was submitted two (2) days after we filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s office alleging that the AZMMA was committing criminal fraud by charging seminar fees and claiming that the monies collected were tax deductable. This was fraudulent: AZMMA is not a legally registered corporation, and surly is not a 501c3 (not for profit entity ). The act of reserving a name with the Arizona Corporation Commission in no way establishes AZMMA as a legal entity authorized to do business in Arizona. It is merely a precursor to filing Corporate Documents. AZMMA’s representations that they are authorized to do business in this state, or that they are a Not-for-profit entity may very well represent criminal fraud.
It appears that Mr. Humble needs a new PR Company! Let us all understand what is taking place here. Mr. Humble tells the press “that his staff screens the reputation of a group before accepting any engagement”, nevertheless, he will speak with, and associate with a fee based function promoted by AZMMA, (illegally operated by his long time friend and and former MPP operative Joe Yuhas), which is an unlicensed, unauthorized non-entity making fraudulent claims. However, he refuses to speak at a FREE function sponsored by a legitimate Arizona Industry Association. This clearly creates an appearance of impropriety. Additionally, It appears that we must question the competency of his staff’s ability to review these agenda requests. If that is so, how can we trust this same staff to review applications for Dispensary operators!!! Will the same bias apply?
It should also be noted that at that same event, Mr. Humble’s other close friend, Andrew Meyer, was plying the trade of a new, also unregistered, illegal company called 203organics.
It appears to me that the Director of a AZDHS was endorsing and associating himself with a number of schemes not authorized to do business in this State. Is this the guy we want regulating the Medical Marijuana Industry?
It’s obvious that Mr. Humble is uncomfortable with the truth we bring to this process. His remarks are without merit and solely intended to damage the good work and reputation of our Association.
Mr. Humble does not need an army of security guards to protect him from us; we are a professional organization merely attempting to assure fairness in this process. Instead of fearing us he should embrace us. Associations like ours and many others across the state can bring a wealth of knowledge, information, positive impute and balance to this process. It is truly unfortunate that Mr. Humble is too biased to understand that.
Not to be distracted, there is one significant issue in the Final Rules which still needs immediate clarification. In order to provide a level playing field for all potential applicants Mr. Humble, or his replacement, must identify who will actually choose the Dispensary winners. Will it be the local zoning jurisdictions or the AZDHS? Mr. Humble continues to do the CHA CHA with respect to this very important question. While the final rules dictate that you will only need a letter from the local zoning jurisdiction stating that the proposed dispensary location meets the required zoning rules. What happens if you cannot get that letter?? Humble has already stated that you will not need a Special Use Permit ( SUP) or Temporary Use Permit, (TUP) with your initial Dispensary Application. However, What Humble has consistently ignored and danced around is the important question; what happens if a local jurisdiction refuses to give you such a letter? Many of you may be aware of the fact that some jurisdictions have conducted “pre-zoning-registrations”. In some cases these “Pre-zoning-registrations” were conducted without advance public notice. Certain select applicants with “inside” information were first in line months ago to pre-register. Some local jurisdictions are refusing to accept other applicants, or have indicated they will not write letters of compliance for those that did not “pre-register”. I believe that this is a pre-mediated effort on the part of some influential individuals to win dispensary licenses for their clients. If that local jurisdiction does not provide you with a letter stating that your property meets the requirements of local zoning requirements, will the AZDHS deny your application solely on that basis???. If that is the case then only applicants previously approved by their local zoning authority will be granted AZDHS Dispensary Licenses. In that event AZDHS is acquiescing to local jurisdictions it’s authority under Title 36 to select the Dispensary Applicants.
So, Mr. Humble, we know you are reading this, we are asking you to clarify this issue.
We believe AZDHS has no authority to assign it’s authority under Title 36 to Local Zoning Jurisdictions. In fact, to do so would be actionable by any applicant damaged by that process. A simple solution to this issue would be to forgo any zoning requirements till after the Dispensary Applicants have been chosen. It is very likely at that time many of the approved applicants may elect to move their facility to better locations within their CHAA. These new better locations will become available when the non-selected applicants terminate their lease agreements.
Additionally, considering all the rumors , allegations, and other suggestions of impropriety surrounding this process it appears that the only fair way to review and select Dispensary Applicants would be establish a review board comprised of members from the general public, the legal community, the Medical Marijuana industry and of course AZDHS.
In the interest of making this a fair and equal process to all we encourage Mr. Humble to work with all legitimate Organizations.
Allan Sobol, Director
Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals, Inc.
Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Asks for an Investigation of Will Humble & the Arizona Department of Health Services
Alan Sobol and his Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals are demanding that there be an investigation of Will Humble and the Arizona Department of Health Services with respect to their implementation of Arizona’s medical marijuana laws. In a blog post Mr. Sobol makes various allegations about Will Humble and concludes:
“The people of Arizona are initialed to a fair and impartial administration of the program. Mr. Humble’s actions demand a through external investigation. The implementation of the Dispensary Application process should be delayed until such time as the rules and their development process can be reviewed by outside counsel. We respectfully request that your office conduct a full investigation into this matter.”
Alan Sobol’s latest letter to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble is dated March 14, 2011, and it contains some explosive allegations. In the letter Mr. Sobol complains about the zoning nightmare created by DHS rules and the cities of Arizona. He correctly claims that it is the cities of Arizona who are effectively making the decision on who will ultimately get a dispensary license rather than DHS. Here are some choice statements from Mr. Sobol’s letter:
“Although the AZDHS rules are ambiguous and do not specifically require Zoning approval at the first stage of the application process, nevertheless, the Rose Law group has been aggressively pursuing Zoning Approval for their clients. Do they know something that nobody else does? Is Mr. Humble’s final rules going to interpret the current ambiguous rules to mean that you do indeed need ZONING APPROVAL? It is hard to imagine that a State Agency could not have done a better job promulgating their rules, if that was truly their intention.”
“We hereby demand that Mr. Humble immediately clarify his position regarding Zoning Approval with respect to the initial Application process; Is Zoning Approval a requirement or NOT? If zoning approval is a requirement we further demand that the Health Department extend the time for applicants to submit their Dispensary applications. The extended time should be sufficient for all applicants to seek and obtain local Zoning Approval, in any event no less than 60 additional days.”
“we adamantly oppose the requirement that Applicants obtain Zoning approval prior to submission of the initial application. If the Health department requires such zoning approval they are in fact deferring their authority under Title 36 to select the Dispensary licensees to local zoning boards. Under this scenario the Health Department could only consider applicants who were approved by local zoning boards, precluding all others.”
I agree with each of the three statements made above.
Rule R9-17-303.B.5 says the application for a dispensary license must be accompanied by:
“A sworn statement signed and dated by the individual or individuals in R9-17-301 certifying that the dispensary is in compliance with local zoning restrictions“
Unfortunately the zoning rules do not explain what it means for “the dispensary is in compliance with local zoning restrictions.” There are two schools of thought on the meaning:
- The applicant can make the zoning affirmation if the dispensary site is properly zoned and not too close to a prohibited structure or area.
- The applicant can make the zoning affirmation if the application has filed the necessary paperwork with the city and obtained whatever magical city zoning paperwork is required to ultimately operate a medical marijuana dispensary at the site such as a use permit, a variance or a note from the mayor’s mommy saying she really really likes one of the owners of the applicant (I made up the last item).
Ryan Hurley, a zoning attorney with the Rose Law Group was a speaker at a March 3, 2011, seminar sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona. Ryan said he thought Rule R9-17-303.B.5 meant choice #2. After the seminar I asked Tom Salow of the DHS if he agreed with Ryan Hurley about the zoning affirmation and he said no – he interpreted the rule to mean choice #1. Unfortunately it is no legal significance what either Ryan Hurley or Tom Salow think the rule means. What is important is WHAT DOES THIS RULE ACTUALLY MEAN? See “Must My Dispensary Obtain a Conditional Use Permit from the City before it can File an Application for an Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensary License?“
DHS needs to clairfy the meaning of the rule. I hope that the third and hopefully final draft of the rules due March 28, 2011, will clarify this point and make it clear that the applicant need only affirm that its site is properly zoned and not too close to a prohibited structure or area. It is just stupid and a waste of everybody’s resources for multiple applicants for the one license within a CHAA to go through the actual zoning process and get city zoning approval before the applicant wins the lottery.
Mr. Sobol makes a valid point that the current chaos created by the DHS rules, the CHAAs and local zoning is in effect allowing the zoning authorities to determine who can apply for a license for an Arizona medical marijuana dispensary. The cities are the gate keepers who decide who gets a site and who doesn’t. If the rules mean that an applicant for a dispensary license must get city zoning approval before being able to affirm that the site zoning is groovy then the cities are, in fact, selecting which would-be dispensaries will get a dispensary license within their jurisdictions. This is contrary to Arizona’s medical marijuana laws, which require that DHS determine who gets a dispensary license.
I suggest all would-be dispensaries and their owners to send a letter to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble and ask him to change the rules to clarify that the affirmation of zoning means only that the site is properly zoned and not too close to a prohibited structure or area. Send your letter to Will Humble, Director, Arizona Department of Health Services, 150 N. 18th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85007.
What follows below is the text of a March 1, 2011, letter from Alan Sobol and the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professional, Inc., to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble. Alan asks that DHS immediately clarify two huge problems that almost all prospective dispensaries face:
- The requirement of Proposition 203 and the Arizona Department of Health Services rules that the application for a dispensary license show the actual address of the dispensary.
- Uncertainty as to whether a dispensary site must merely be properly zoned or if the dispensary must have file all necessary paperwork with the city or county and actually obtain city or county approval before it can file an application for a dispensary. See “Must My Dispensary Obtain a Conditional Use Permit from the City before it can File an Application for an Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensary License?“
- Confusion in the rules as to whether all owners of the dispensary must meet the Arizona residency requirement.
I agree with Alan on all three issues. It’s a landlord and zoning zoo out there for prospective dispensaries, but it doesn’t have to be. Rather than have 5,000 would be dispensaries scramble to tie up 5,000 sites, file 5,000 zoning applications, pay 5,000 city and county zoning fees and have cities and counties waste their scarce and valuable resources processing 5,000 zoning applications, the DHS rules should provide that prospective dispensaries be required to list on its application the actual location of the dispensary after they obtain a dispensary registration certificate, but before they apply for their final inspection necessary to obtain the license.
Under the current rules 5,000 prospective dispensaries are all competing for the limited number of sites that meet local zoning requirements. The result is landlords can charge higher rent because the demand is much bigger than the supply of properly zoned sites. Yesterday somebody told me that there are only two properly zoned sites in Surprise and one is leased and the other is in foreclosure. It makes no sense for any prospective dispensary to waste its time and resources and the time and resources of a city or county zoning department unless the dispensary has obtained a dispensary registration certificate. Require dispensary applicants to disclose the location of their sites and affirm the zoning only after they win the lottery and get a dispensary registration certificate.
Alan’s third issue is valid. In my February 18, 2011, letter to Will Humble I suggested that the rules be amended to clarify that all eligibility requirements for any principal officer and director be expanded to include apply to all owners.
Here’s Alan Sobol’s March 1, 2011, letter. DHS please listen and help.
March 1, 2011
Arizona Department of Health Services
Office of the Director:
150 North 18th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
RE: Open letter To Director Humble. The Market Place is in Chaos, Please help!!
Dear Mr. Humble
I am writing to you at the request of the members of the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals, (AADP). With over 6100 members we are the largest trade association of its kind in the State of Arizona. Collectively, we represent the largest percentage of Dispensary applicants in Arizona. Upon information and belief we have at least one member/applicant in almost every AZDHS CHAA.
We are writing to you regarding our great concern for the current chaotic market conditions across the State of Arizona. We adamantly believe these conditions are a direct result of the confusion unintentionally caused your agency. (more…)
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!
Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Threatens to Sue Phoenix Over Its Pre-registration Zoning Procedure
Alan Sobol and the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals are claiming that the City of Phoenix zoning department has been up to no good. Here is the text of a January 31, 2011, email message I received from Alan Sobol and the Consiglieri Group:
We have uncovered a scheme to defraud Dispensary Applicants in the City of Phoenix. Phoenix recently implemented a Pre-registration scheme fraught with Cronyism, Nepotism, Favoritism and Abuse of Authority. To read the complaint click here: (seed2success.com/phxcomplaint.html). We have exposed the truth, now we need to wait and see what the mayor will do. If you were planning to file for zoning approval in the City of Phoenix I urge you to contact the city and let them know what you think about this. [email protected] If you have any questions or comments please contact me at [email protected]
Read the Press Release found at the above link. AZADP alleges that Phoenix instituted its medical marijuana zoning pre-registration without legal authority because pre-registration is not provided for in the zoning ordinance G-5573 adopted by the Phoenix CIty Council. Quotes from the Press Release:
Notice of Intent to Commence Legal Action: City of Phoenix Initiates Illegal Pre-registration of Potential Marijuana Sites: Allegations of Fraud, Cronyism, Nepotism, Favoritism and Abuse of Authority
It appears from the evidence that the City’s “pre-registration” program was solely intended to provide certain influential entities preferential treatment with respect to the selection of their medical Marijuana Business locations.
Apparently the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals filed a complaint with the Arizona State Bar that contains allegations about the Rose Law Group and its involvement in the medical marijuana industry.
Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Declares War on Arizona Department of Health Services, Marijuana Policy Project & the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association
The Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals (AZADP) fired a shot across the bow of the Arizona Department of Health Services today when AZADP issued a press release called “AZDHS and MPP Acting in Collusion to limit access to Dispensary Applicants, Monopolization abuses outlined in letter to Arizona Heath Department.” The article starts:
“We believe that the AZDHS has been influenced by and is conspiring with other organizations, namely the Marijuana Policy Project, (MPP) and their recently established association, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, (AzMMA), to create an elitist and monopolistic program where only the wealthy influential, informed sponsors of MPP will qualify for one of the 125 licenses. We believe that the following evidence will show that the AZDHS in collusion with MPP are intentionally developing program rules that are so complicated and costly so as to preclude otherwise qualified applicants merely on the basis of wealth and influence. We believe it is the intention of MPP to control the marketplace.”
If you are interested in obtaining a medical marijuana dispensary license in Arizona, this article is a must read.
FYI: According to a search of the Arizona Corporation Commission’s website today, there is no entity in Arizona called “Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals,” but Allan Sobol reserved the name Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals, Inc., on 11/21/10.