State of Arizona Now Taking Medical Marijuana Dispensary Applications
Between now and May 25th at 5 p.m. local time, The Arizona Department of Health Services will be taking applications for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Under the state’s medical marijuana law there are supposed to be 126 dispensaries, but lawsuits and other delays have stalled progress. Hopefully now things can get moving at a better pace. It’s important for patients to be able to grow their own, but there can’t be full access without dispensaries.
Those applying for permits to operate dispensaries must pay a $5,000 fee, only $1,000 of which will be returned if they are not approved. Applicants must not be able to write medical marijuana recommendations and not have certain felonies on their record, among other stipulations.
If approved, an operator can have up to 5 dispensaries. State officials estimate they will end up approving about 70 to 80 applications which will be spread evenly throughout the state. There are now more than 22,000 legal MMJ patients in Arizona, with about 85% having requested permission to grow their own.
After applicants are approved sometime this summer and are in operation, they will be able to grow their own cannabis and/or buy it from approved dispensaries, caregivers and patients.
Things have moved slowly in AZ, especially with Governor Jan Brewer doing everything she could to stall forward momentum. But it now seems patients will have full medical marijuana access by the fall. This makes patients in Arizona more fortunate than those in most other states.
Of course, we will see how long their fortune lasts since 126 dispensaries means 126 new targets for the federal government to threaten and/or raid. And as long as things stay the way they are at the federal level, you can bet Arizona will find itself in the crosshairs eventually.
Judge Says Medical Marijuana Loans Cannot Be Enforced
Two businesspeople in Arizona are out $500,000 in loans they gave to a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado because a judge says medical marijuana loan contracts cannot be enforced.
In August 2010 Mark Haile and Michele Hammer loaned $250,000 a piece to Today’s Health Care II, expecting to be repaid like anyone who loans money. But in March of 2011 THC defaulted on the loan. When no money was forthcoming, Haile and Hammer sued.
Seemed like an open and shut case except for one thing. Marijuana is illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, so on April 17th of this year Superior Court Judge Michael McVey ruled that the plaintiffs were entitled to no money.
So marijuana prohibition screws two more people in an ever-growing list. This will also have the effect of drying up medical marijuana loans – not that there were many places for that to start with. And the economics of the medical marijuana industry grow even smaller.
Haile and Hammer’s lawyer was surprised by the verdict, but THC’s lawyer was not. "It's a classic supremacy issue--federal versus state," William Kozub said. "Take the marijuana out of it. Just make it a regular commercial dispute for something that's illegal under federal law. It's that simple. Drug lords from Colombia cannot come to court and say 'They sold me bad cocaine.’”
Quite a smug comment, but he did win so I guess some of that is to be expected. And I would expect THC to be shunned in the marijuana and business community as the bad investment they are. But it’s a shame that marijuana prohibition not only ruins lives and enriches criminals, but its economic impact is immense. Resources wasted, tax money lost, job-growth suppressed and investment opportunities drying up.
Truly a shame.
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