Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer relents; dispensaries will be registered

Jan 13, 2012 , , , , , , ,

UPDATE: On Tuesday, an Arizona state court ordered the state to implement the dispensary provisions of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The court also declared three medical marijuana regulations invalid and upheld other challenged regulations. The health department had said the state might wait until September or later to issue dispensary registrations. Hopefully, this means dispensaries will finally be registered by spring.

Today, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) announced she will not re-file her lawsuit questioning the validity of Arizona’s medical marijuana program. She also announced that once litigation is resolved challenging the health department rules, her health department will begin issuing dispensary registrations.

Gov. Brewer’s announcement follows a January 4 ruling dismissing her lawsuit. Judge Susan Bolton agreed with the ACLU, Department of Justice, and other attorneys, and found that there was no genuine, imminent threat that state employees would be prosecuted. Bolton said that Brewer could re-file if the problems with her complaint were addressed.

The U.S. attorney for Arizona at the time the case was filed, Dennis Burke, sent a letter to the Arizona health department on May 2, 2011 that flew in the face of the Obama Administration’s stated policy of not targeting those complying with state medical marijuana laws. Burke’s letter said “the [federal] CSA may be vigorously enforced against those individuals and entities who operate large marijuana production facilities” even if they are in compliance with state laws, as well as those who “knowingly facilitate the actions of traffickers.” After receiving the letter, Gov. Brewer directed Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne to file the litigation requesting clarity, even though Burke told media outlets that his office would not target state employees.

Today, Gov. Brewer wrote the acting U.S. attorney for Arizona, Ann Birmingham Scheel, noting her plans to finally move forward. Brewer requested clarification as to whether there are any activities state employees should not engage in and said “the Department of Justice and the administration which you serve will have a lot of explaining to do to the citizens of our country, and State of Arizona employees in particular, if the State’s reasonable and straightforward requests for clarity are ignored, and the Department of Justice then ambushes State employees with prosecution or civil penalties for implementing the AMMA and licensing medical marijuana dispensaries.”

Now, only one governor is stubbornly refusing to move forward with implementing a duly enacted medical marijuana dispensary program: Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) of Rhode Island. Here’s hoping he finally sees the light.

14 responses to “Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer relents; dispensaries will be registered”

  1. Next mission: Getting the 25mile “no grow zones” declared unconstitutional. The first person they try to enforce this law on will probably be represented for FREE. It is an EASY victory. The 24 mile no-grow zones are a GROSS violation of equal protection statutes.

  2. Looks like the MPP finally got what they fully designed, a monopoly of dispensaries raking in profits. There is nothing compassionate about monopoly capitalism.

  3. @ Nick — There will be about 125 dispensaries in the state. In addition, patients who do not live within 25 miles of a dispensary will be allowed to grow.

    MPP supports home cultivation, but did not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Polling showed that home cultivation lost votes in Arizona. The initiative passed with 50.13% of the votes. It could not afford to lose as many votes as including home cultivation statewide would almost surely have lost it. In other words, there would almost surely be no law and no protection for patients if home cultivation were not limited.

    I’m also confused about why you indicated MPP wanted dispensaries to rake in profits. The law specifies they must be nonprofit.

  4. @ karen. Youre right legally non profits arent allowed to make profits, so I was off when stating that. But according to the defintion of monopoly, you cant argue the fact that a fixed number of establishments at 125 granted exclusive rights through the state government to provide a service or product isnt a monopoly. As far as the MPP supporting personal cultivation, why such an emphasis on taxation and heavy regulation? why Push for initiative in NV making a tightly regulated storefront system for 21 and up without home cultivation. Why legislation in DE for medical with no home cultivation and only one dispenary per county? Before the recent raids by the DEA in several of the states out west it was stated by the attorneys that they would not be targeting patients or caregivers and only going after dispensaries. Now wouldnt it seem that making sure patients had the right to cultivate for themselves or having a caregiver do it be in the best interest for patients since the FEDs havent solidified their position and continue shutting down the dispenaries. If they dont allow Dispenaries to operate, how will patients in Deleware, Maryland, New york, Idaho and other states where the MPP has either successfully gotten legislation passed or is working on medical iniatives/ legslation that excludes self or caregiver cultivation obtain medicine ? I can understand that in the case of AZ that may have been a necessary compromise, but when in the history of this country have we seen that as time goes on its easier to obtain more freedom. We have seen crackdowns on the sates with existing laws not attempts to grant people more freedom in regard to medical cannanis. Take colorado for instance. People now need to be finger printed who work in the medical cannabis industry and all the dispensaries are under 24 hour surveilance. The medical marijauna program is now run my the department of revenue the same entity that oversees alcohal and gambling. But I suppose thats ok since MPP supports regulating it like alcohal when its safer and should be treated as such.

  5. I hope Rhode Island Governor Chafee takes note of this, he’s been holding up our 3 Compassion Centers from being licensed since he got “the letter” from our Federal Attorney….we want our compassion centers, it was voted into law – he’s violating our state law to provide safe access…

  6. If anyone knows of some good reputable sites where I can continue to gather information about starting a dispensary here in Kansas if the law gets passed could you please post or email me the sites. I have started a non-profit in the past but am thinking it will be a bit different when it comes to starting a dispensary.

  7. I have donated several times to MMP however I will stop support for them if their intent is to implement regulations that do not include the right for patients or persons to grow their own medicine! I hope this is not the case. Currently person can home brew wine and beer ect. So if cannabis is to be regulated the same as alcohol then it is expected persons will have the right to grow. Programs that do not provide for this to me is still a form of economic prohibition!

  8. Thanks for the update. We’re moving along here in Delaware and this helps. I understand we have a number of organizations which will be submitting applications this spring.
    Thank you Karen for your help in Delaware.

  9. It seems to me that once the dispensaries are open in AZ that the people the state forced into buying their own equipment by their inaction to implement the licensing may have a problem. Once the dispensaries are open the law states that if you live farther than 25 miles from one you can be authorized to grow your own. Since they never opened the dispensaries, we had no other option. I have the sentence, “Authorized to cultivate” . Now are they going to tell me I can’t grow my own? Are they going to buy my equipment from me? I see some problems ahead that will only be taken care of after they manifest themselves. The law will probably need to be modified to avoid the state taking the authorization to cultivate away from the people they already said had that authorization.

  10. You’ll need all the confidence and understanding you can muster to keep going sometimes. One particular out of 5 people of orthopedic therapy is an individual who like contact sports like boxing, wrestling, soil biking etc. This can also be a very viable option for those wishing for a career change.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *