Protecting Prop 203 – With Success Comes Danger

Nearly a year after being approved by voters, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act has proven popular with patients, yet much of the Act remains on rocky legal ground.

Six active lawsuits confirm early predictions that such a significant social policy change would engender substantial court action.  What wasn’t known was how patients, caregivers and the business community serving these individuals would respond when the State once again attempted to scuttle the will of the voters.

In January of this year Attorney General Tom Horne offered anti-Prop 203 leader Carolyn Short a gift: he could disembowel significant portions of the Act by pitting Arizona’s new law against the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and last but not least, the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, Nixon’s reaction to the social unrest being fomented by the era’s youth – and still the underpinning of Federal law.  Once Governor Jan Brewer finally browbeat Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble into being the State’s Plaintiff, Horne petitioned the federal court for a “Declaratory Judgement” stating that the Act did or did not conflict with federal statutue – which of course it does, as it has in every state with a medical marijuana law.

Horne had to know his abuse of the judicial system wouldn’t yield a favorable ruling, but he also knew this: the suit would create confusion and doubt about the Act, weakening public support for a ballot initiative that won by only the slimmest of margins.  This would buy opponents time to create a “sky is falling” narrative, dutifully reported by an obedient press: that “medical” marijuana is a sham, a cover for what in actuality is a recreational users program; that dispensaries would attract crime and blight to neighborhoods; that cartels would move in under the guise of being legal dispensaries; and, that medicating patients would cause trouble in the workplace, etc, etc ad nauseum.

This storyline failed during the 2010 election cycle, but could now have the effect sought by opponents.  Why? Because due to the Act’s passage and the government’s failure to fully stop its implementation, there are patients legally using marijuana for medicinal purposes,  patients and caregivers cultivating crops, and compassion clubs and collectives opening up across the State to provide patients with access to the medicine they voted for – all activities in which just a few wrong steps, misjudgements, foolish or criminal acts might be enough to turn the tide of public opinion towards the opponent’s desired goal – repeal of the Act.

Unsurprisingly, some regretable incidents have occurred.  The press, rarely missing an opportunity to cast MMJ in a bad light, reports each incident with just enough objectivity to mask its underlying Reefer Madness bias, confirming the worst fears of opponents while stirring doubt among casual supporters of Prop 203 last November.

So,we have a hostile government (with the Legisature reconvening in January), media outlets continually sensationalizing the subject, and well-connected private citizens whose overriding life goal is re-criminalizing personal behaviors we’ve just determined should be legal.

What is IN our favor is significant, if utilized with direction and purpose.  Raw assets include 13,000+ patients and caregivers, whose numbers grow daily; responsible business owners whose fledgling enterprises are starting to bear fruit; a nationwide network of supporting advocates who have been down this same rough road; and, the knowledge that a majority of Arizonans from across the political spectrum support the right of patients to have this medicine if they so choose.

Next: An actionable plan for advocates.

[Note] Although many know me as an insurance agent providing coverage for compassion clubs and grows, in a former life I worked ten years for an elected official. My political experience also includes advising local and state candidates and non-profit lobbying.  From these experiences I learned that even underdogs can win – but only if they are in the game.

Doug Banfelder is a commercial insurance specialist.  Reach him at 480-315-9051, dougb@psigllc.com, or at www.PremierDispensaryInsurance.com

ADHS Refuses to Accept an Application for an Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensary License

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble wrote the following on his blog on June 1, 2011:

“A prospective dispensary applicant came to our offices this morning in an effort to submit an application for a dispensary registration certificate.   We declined to accept the application because, as I wrote on Friday, we won’t be accepting dispensary registration certificate applications until the outcome of legal action filed last week.

There were several members of the media present when the prospective applicant arrived.  One of the reporters asked me a question about how the decision was made to halt the acceptance of dispensary registration certificate applications.  I want to clarify my answer to that question.  The decision to halt the acceptance of dispensary registration certificate applications was collaborative.  It was the result of multiple discussions that followed the May 2 letter from the U.S. Attorney for Arizona – including conversations involving myself, the Governor, legal counsel and staff.  It’s most accurate to say that the Governor and I reached the decision to suspend the acceptance of dispensary applications in consultation and coordination, as is typical for an issue of this significance.”

By |2011-06-05T08:42:17-07:00June 1st, 2011|AZ Marijuana Law Lawsuits, Stories & Articles, Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on ADHS Refuses to Accept an Application for an Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensary License

Arizona Faces Challenge on Medical Marijuana Stance

Arizona Republic:  “State health Director Will Humble was putting the finishing touches Tuesday on the letter he will give to prospective medical marijuana dispensary owners when he declines their applications.  Though Humble and his staff have spent months preparing for Wednesday’s start of the dispensary application process, the federal lawsuit filed Friday by Gov. Jan Brewer has put the kibosh on it.  ‘We’ll explain to them that we’re unable to accept applications right now, and thank them for their efforts,’ he said. ‘At least they’ll have something when they leave to document that they tried‘.”

By |2011-06-05T08:37:01-07:00May 31st, 2011|AZ Marijuana Law Lawsuits, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Arizona Faces Challenge on Medical Marijuana Stance

Director of Arizona Department of Health Services Not Worried About Being Charged with Violating Federal Marijuana Criminal Laws

In an April 29, 2011, forum at the Phoenix Country Club sponsored by Valley Partnership, Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said that he personally is not worried that he might be prosecuted by the federal government for aidding and abetting the commission of crimes involving federal marijuana criminal laws.  He made the statement in response to a question that asked him to comment on the April 14, 2011, letter from the two Washington state U.S. Attorneys to the Governor of Washington who asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder if the U.S. would prosecute Washington state employees who implement Washington’s recently enacted medical marijuana law that provides for the creation of state legal medical marijuana dispensaries.

In an April 13, 2011, letter to the U.S. Attorney General, Washington Governor Christine 0. Gregoire asked:

“It would be very helpful to receive clear guidance on the Department of Justice enforcement position and whether the 2009 Memorandum from Deputy Attorney General Ogden should be read to encompass the activities that would be licensed under this state legislation. Also, it would be helpful if the guidance addressed whether state employees involved in inspecting the premises, auditing the records or collecting fees from the licensed dispensers, producers or processors would be immune from arrest or liability when engaged in the enforcement of this licensing law.”

The next day, Jenny A. Durkan, United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, and Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, sent Governor Gregoire a letter in which they said:

“the Department could consider civil and criminal legal remedies regarding those who set up marijuana growing facilities and dispensaries as they will be doing so in violation of federal law. Others who knowingly facilitate the actions of the licensees, including property owners, landlords, and financiers should also know that their conduct violates federal law. In addition, state employees who conducted activities mandated by the Washington legislative proposals would not be immune from liability under the CSA. Potential actions the Department could consider include injunctive actions to prevent cultivation and distribution of marijuana and other associated violations of the CSA; civil fines; criminal prosecution; and the forfeiture of any property used to facilitate a violation of the CSA”

Mr. Humble said he is concerned about the affect the U.S. Attorney letters and news stories might have on DHS employees involved in implementing Arizona’s medical marijuana laws, especially DHS IT personnel.

Here are my notes from the one hour forum.

  • Phoenix Planning Director Debra Stark gave a list of zoning jurisdictions that require special zoning documents and those that do not.  The following do not require either a use permit, a conditional use permit or a special use permit:  Glendale, Surprise, Buckeye, Goodyear, Avondale, Mesa, Tempe, Fountain Hills, Tucson and Flagstaff.  The following require either a UP, a CUP or a SUP: Peoria, El Mirage, Carefree, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, Phoenix and Maricopa County.  After the forum I asked her how long it would take for a prospective dispensary to get the comfort letter from the Phoenix zoning department.  She said five days, but the letter would say that it is subject to the applicant obtaining a special use permit before opening for business.
  • Will Humble said that a financial institution can issue the bank comfort letter if the not-for-profit entity or one of its principal officers has $150,000 or more of cash on deposit, a $150,000 letter of credit or gold valued at at least $150,000.
  • When asked who DHS would consider to be the ideal owner of an Arizona medical marijuana dispensary, Will Humble said it is an owner whose primary concern is to do what is in the best interest of the patients.
  • Will Humble made a statement about the duties of the medical director that troubled me.  He said that the medical director has a duty / responsibility to make sure that patients of the dispensary do not abuse marijuana.  The DHS rules prohibit the medical director from having a patient doctor relationship.  How would it be possible for a medical director who is not present at the time of a sale or interaction between dispensary staff and the patient who is abusing marijuana to know: (i) about the abuse, or (ii) to take any action to prevent or help stop the abuse?

See “Washington Legislature Passes New Medical-marijuana Law, Governor Threatens Veto” and “U.S. Attorney Will Prosecute Dispensary Owners, Landlords who Rent to Dispensaries & State Employees Involved in State Medical Marijuana Laws.”

By |2011-05-01T07:19:00-07:00April 30th, 2011|Stories & Articles, Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Director of Arizona Department of Health Services Not Worried About Being Charged with Violating Federal Marijuana Criminal Laws

Alan Sobol’s April 17, 2011, Letter to Will Humble

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.

Sincerely,

 

Allan Sobol, Director
Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals, Inc.

By |2011-04-19T07:42:35-07:00April 19th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Alan Sobol’s April 17, 2011, Letter to Will Humble

Opening Day for Medical Marijuana

From Will Humble’s blog:  “Today was Opening Day for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.  We rolled out our brand-new website at 8 a.m. today and began processing applications for Qualifying Patient and Designated Caregiver Registry Identification Cards. The system went live at 8:00 a.m. and we completed our first qualified patient card at about 8:30.  Our first applicant was a 60 year-old gentleman from Scottsdale living with Crohn’s Disease.”

See “Arizona health director: First-day stats for medical marijuana promising,” “State now defining landscape on medical marijuana” and “Applications open for medical marijuana cards.”

By |2017-02-12T07:38:38-07:00April 15th, 2011|Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Opening Day for Medical Marijuana

Words of Wisdom from Will Humble on April 5, 2011

I attended the forum sponsored by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association and the Marijuana Policy Project in Phoenix on April 5, 2011.  Will Humble spoke for about 30 minutes then answered questions for about 30 minutes.  Here are my notes from the Director’s presentation:

  • The final rules published by the Arizona Department of Health Services on March 28, 2011, are not the actual final rules.  The actual final rules will be the rules that DHS submits to the Arizona Secretary of State on April 14, 2011.  DHS intends to make some changes to the March 28, 2011, version of the rules.
  • The final rules will probably require that dispensary license applicants obtain a “comfort” letter from the landlord of the site where the dispensary’s address listed on the application.  Mr. Humble did not use the phrase “comfort” letter.  That is my characterization of what he said, which was the applicant must attach to the application something in writing from the owner of the site where the dispensary will operate that the owner is ok with the applicant using the owner’s address on the application.
  • Rather than merely requiring the applicant to affirm that the zoning of the prospective dispensary site is “groovy,” the applicant will be required to get something in writing from the city that the proposed site is in accordance with city zoning, i.e., it is properly zoned and not too close to a prohibited structure or area.
  • The March 28, 2011, rules will be modified, but DHS does not intend to make substantive changes.  I submit that the two preceding items, especially the second are substantive changes to the rules.
  • Patient and dispensary applications will be submitted online.  DHS’ goal is to reduce DHS costs.
  • There is no advantage in submitting a dispensary application early.
  • DHS will review dispensary license applications in July and August.  He predicted that there will more applications for licenses in highly populated CHAAs and fewer applications in low populated CHAAs.
  • A dispensary in Ajo that is in a low populated CHAA could have a big grow operation and sell marijuana to other dispensaries.
  • After a dispensary has been operating for three years, it can move any where in the state subject to proper zoning.
  • Dispensary licenses in CHAAs that are located in tribal land will be issued in 2012.
  • A dispensary can move any where within its approved CHAA during its first three years, subject to zoning.
  • If there are multiple dispensary license applicants who meet all five levels of review in a CHAA, the dispensary registration certificate will be awarded by a lottery conducted by the Arizona Lottery Commission.
  • Level five review consists of the applicants providing a letter from a bank that says that the applicant has $150,000 of available capital.  DHS doesn’t care if the available capital is cash in the bank or a line or credit or the ability to borrow $150,000, but it must say that the applicant (not an owner, officer or board member) has the money.  A questioner asked if it would be ok to remove the cash from the bank that day after the bank issued the letter.  Mr. Humble was stumped.  He had not thought of that and the March 28, 2011, version of the rules would not prohibit the removal.
  • Concerning the quality of the dispensary applications:  DHS will take into consideration and look to see if the required documents are submitted and appear to be comprehensive, but will not evaluate them for quality.  Not sure what he meant.
  • The security and inventory control policies and procedures must show that the applicant will be able to prevent the diversion of marijuana from its intended and state lawful use.
  • When asked if the applicant for a dispensary license will be notified if its application is defective and be given a chance to correct any defects, Mr. Humble said he doesn’t know yet.  He said that if the total number of applications for a dispensary license is relatively low, DHS will probably notice applicants of defects and give them a cure period, but will not do so if there are too many applications.  He did not give any indication of when the number of applications would be too many to give defect notices and cure periods.
  • He mentioned that the business plan should include references to the Arizona medical marijuana statutes and the DHS rules where appropriate.
  • As DHS receives applications for dispensary licenses, it will post the location on its CHAA maps.  He did not say what other information would be made available to the public.
  • Subject to applicable zoning requirements, a dispensary agent of a dispensary can deliver marijuana to its patients anywhere in Arizona as long as the agent remains with the marijuana at all times and complies with the DHS delivery rules.
  • It is ok to have multiple dispensary applications for the same site.
  • If a person or group of people who own one or more entities that apply for multiple dispensary licenses in multiple CHAAs were to win more thann one license, DHS expects and demands that a dispensary be opened in each CHAA.  Not sure how DHS would enforce this.  Would it try to terminate all of the licenses if the group failed to open or operate one of the dispensaries?
  • A medical director of a dispensary cannot write certifications for any patient.  Another doctor in the medical director’s medical group can write certifications, but the medical director must disclose that fact to DHS.
  • I asked Mr. Humble this question:  Can a for profit corporation get a dispensary license if it has one or more shareholders who own less than 20 percent of the shares and who are not officers or directors of the corporation if these shareholders do not meet the eligibility criteria including they are not residents of Arizona.  He said yes.

Caution:  What Mr. Humble says is not the official position of the DHS and may or may  not actually be implemented by DHS.  His comments are enlightening, but it is the official acts of DHS such as the rules that have legal significance.

By |2011-04-12T08:50:31-07:00April 12th, 2011|DHS Rules, Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Words of Wisdom from Will Humble on April 5, 2011

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.”

By |2015-04-06T18:51:46-07:00April 12th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off on Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Asks for an Investigation of Will Humble & the Arizona Department of Health Services

Officials Worry Arizona Medical Pot will Go Recreational

KTAR radio:  “As Arizona’s medical marijuana program moves toward a launching point, the challenge is to keep it ‘medical.’  Dr. Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said it would not take much to turn the legal program, approved by voters last November, into a recreational pot program.”

By |2017-02-12T07:38:37-07:00April 6th, 2011|Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Officials Worry Arizona Medical Pot will Go Recreational

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

Want a dispensary? Think Rural

From Will Humble’s blog:

“One of our objectives as we developed the final set of Rules for Medical Marijuana was to ensure reliable access to medication in rural Arizona. . . . we added a provision in the final rules that allow rural dispensary owners to move their dispensaries anywhere in the State after 3 years . . . . By applying in a rural CHAA, they can increase their chances of successfully being awarded a Registration Certificate and keep their options open for moving to a part of the state with a high density of qualified patients after a few years.  Likewise, if a prospective applicant has had a previous bankruptcy or lacks access to $150K in capital (which are part of our competitive screening criteria), they’ll be in a better position to compete for Registration Certificates in rural AZ.”

By |2011-03-29T07:24:32-07:00March 29th, 2011|Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Want a dispensary? Think Rural

Dispensary Zoning Issues

From Will Humble’s blog:

“The final rules outline a 2-step process whereby applicants enter into a competitive screening in each Community Health Analysis Area (CHAA) for a dispensary Registration Certificate, followed by a build out and inspection before receiving an Operating License from ADHS.  Each dispensary applicant will be required to sign an attestation that the address that they are applying under is in accordance with local zoning (note that this doesn’t mean that they need to establish whether  they have a special or conditional use permit). . . .

Once an applicant has been awarded a Registration Certificate, they’re allowed to move their dispensary inside their CHAA (subject to local zoning approval, Department approval, and paying our $2,500 fee).  The Registration Certificate holder is also allowed to move their dispensary location (inside the CHAA) after they receive their Operating License.”

By |2011-03-29T07:19:32-07:00March 29th, 2011|Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Dispensary Zoning Issues

Will Humble on the Final Version of the Arizona Department of Health Services Rules

Today Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble said:

“We’re finished making our policy decisions regarding the final medical marijuana rules, and our rules team will be spending Friday and probably part of the weekend crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s on the final medical marijuana rules.  We’ll be releasing them on our website first-thing on Monday morning.  We’ll also be having a media conference at some point later that day.  We’ve developed a long set of Frequently Asked Questions to help prospective qualified patients, caregivers, dispensary applicants and physicians understand the final set of rules.  While the final rules will be posted on Monday, the actual law takes effect at the start of the business day on April 14.  We expect to be ready to go on the 14th.

We believe the final rule package accomplishes most of our objectives which include:

  1. ensuring convenient access for folks with debilitating medical conditions identified in the Initiative;
  2. ensuring access to the medication in rural Arizona;
  3. clear expectations regarding criteria for medical marijuana certifications;
  4. a way to identify physicians that act unprofessionally and write certifications for recreational use;
  5. a fair, effective, and orderly way to award dispensary licenses this year and in future years;
  6. clear medical, administrative, inventory, and security expectations for dispensary operation;
  7. reasonable compliance and enforcement provisions;
  8. a clear method for adding debilitating medical conditions over time;
  9. efficient administrative oversight designed to minimize cost; and
  10. reasonable fees that will cover the costs of implementing the program.

Over the last few months we have carefully examined medical marijuana programs in other states, reviewed more than 3,000 comments from the public on our 2 draft rule packages, and used the full range of expertise and creativity among our staff to develop what we believe is a responsible set of regulations that will ensure the near-term and future success of the program.  Thanks for all the hard everybody!

By |2011-03-25T07:12:20-07:00March 25th, 2011|Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Will Humble on the Final Version of the Arizona Department of Health Services Rules

Arizona Health Czar Will Humble

Phoenix Magazine:  “Since the passage of Proposition 203 last November, which legalized medical marijuana in Arizona, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services has taken pains to project himself as a fair and responsive custodian of the controversial measure, which goes into effect April 14.”

By |2015-04-06T18:50:21-07:00March 21st, 2011|Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Arizona Health Czar Will Humble

Cross-cutting Marijuana Team Hitting on All Cylinders

Will Humble’s blog:  “Under the provisions of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act we had 120 days to get the entire program up and running.  A short timeframe for this complex program (to say the least).  That gives us until close of business on April 13, 2011 to have everything ready.”  He says that applications for patients, caregivers and dispensary agents will be 100% electronic online and will begin April 13, 2011.

By |2011-03-15T07:03:43-07:00March 15th, 2011|Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Cross-cutting Marijuana Team Hitting on All Cylinders

Will Humble Says Docs Can’t Be Giving Medical Marijuana Recommendations Until March 28, 2011

From Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble’s blog:  “As I was looking through a weekly publication in the Phoenix area I noticed that there are several physicians that are already advertising their services for medical marijuana evaluations and certifications for a fee. Some of the ads and websites seem to imply that the certifications that physicians are writing right now will be valid for getting a medical marijuana registry identification card from the Arizona Department of Health Services once the law takes effect on April 14. This is not the case.”

By |2011-03-10T07:19:44-07:00March 10th, 2011|Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Will Humble Says Docs Can’t Be Giving Medical Marijuana Recommendations Until March 28, 2011

Resources for Getting up to Speed on Marijuana as Medication

The title of this post if the title of an article published on Will Humble’s blog.  His post starts:

“As we get closer to implementing the AZ Medical Marijuana Act in mid-April, I thought it might be a good idea to post some information that may be helpful to physicians and prospective qualifying patients.  Over the last weeks, I’ve been sent a number of articles and sources of information about the medical use of marijuana.  Probably the most comprehensive and well researched (and readable) reports I’ve seen was published in 2000 from the Institutes of Medicine called Marijuana as Medicine-The Science Beyond the Controversy.”

By |2017-02-11T17:33:05-07:00February 26th, 2011|Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Resources for Getting up to Speed on Marijuana as Medication

ABC 15 TV Investigation Finds Some Doctors Jumping the Gun and Giving Patient Recommendations that will Not Be Recognized by DHS

ABC 15:  “The ABC15 Investigators have discovered some patients currently seeking medical marijuana evaluations are getting the wrong information about our state’s new law. . . . ‘Rather than spend time trying to get a (qualified patient) card, which is really a waste of time right now, (patients) ought to spend time looking at the rules,’ [Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will] Humble said.”

By |2017-02-11T17:33:53-07:00February 21st, 2011|Stories & Articles, Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on ABC 15 TV Investigation Finds Some Doctors Jumping the Gun and Giving Patient Recommendations that will Not Be Recognized by DHS

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

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble Discusses Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Law

KSAZ Fox 10 TV interviews Arizona Department of Health Services Will Humble on Arizona’s new medical marijuana law.

Health Director Committed to Preventing Pot Misuse: MyFoxPHOENIX.com

By |2015-04-06T18:49:27-07:00January 31st, 2011|Stories & Articles, Video, Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble Discusses Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Law

Arizona Department of Health Services Director on Implementing Proposition 203

Here are some interesting statements from Will Humble, the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, the agency that will oversee Arizona’s medical marijuana law.

On how DHS will determine which applicants get one of the 124 dispensary licenses:

“There are probably a number of ways to do it, but 3 come to mind right away.  We could, for example:

  1. Use some kind of first-come first-served process and simply approve the first 124 complete dispensary applications;
  2. Place the complete applications in a pool and have some kind of random drawing on a particular date; or
  3. Evaluate the complete applications using some kind of objective criteria (such as the professional quality of their business model, security plan, customer validation and inventory system etc) and select the best applications from the stack for approval.

Method 3 is probably the best because we’d be able to select the best of the qualified applicants”

On the proposed implementation schedule:

“Implementing the Act will take at least 4 months… and we expect to be able to accept our first applications for medical marijuana (Cannabis) cards and dispensaries in early April, 2011.  In the mean time, we’ll be developing the Administrative Code (Rules) for actually operating and regulating the program.  Here is our schedule for Rule development:

December 17, 2010: ADHS posts an initial informal draft of the Rules.

December 17, 2010 – January 7, 2011: ADHS receives informal (electronic) public comment on the initial informal draft Rules.

January 31, 2011: ADHS posts official draft Rules for public comment.

January 31, 2011 – February 18, 2011: ADHS receive public comment on a revised draft of the Rules.

February 15 – 17, 2011: ADHS holds 3 public meetings about the draft Rules

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 – 1 pm, 250 N 17th Ave., Phoenix

Wednesday, February, 16, 2011 – 1 pm, 400 W. Congress, Room 222, Tucson

Thursday, February 17, 2011 – 1 pm, 250 N 17th Ave., Phoenix

March 28, 2011: ADHS publishes the final Rules that will be used to implement the Act.”

By |2010-12-19T17:31:35-07:00November 29th, 2010|Dept Health Services, Will Humble Speaks|Comments Off on Arizona Department of Health Services Director on Implementing Proposition 203