AZ Governors Waiver Allows State Attorney General to go After Medical Marijuana

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, August, 10th 2012 by THCFinder

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed a waiver that allows Attorney General Tom Horne to try to close down the marijuana dispensaries that her state health department is in the process of licensing.


AG Horne recently released a formal legal opinion which stated that the voter-approved medical marijuana in AZ violated federal law. Why would he bother stating this obvious fact formally unless he was planning on doing something about it?


For her part, the Governor said Thursday that she does not intend to block Health Director Will Humble from continuing the process of issuing state permits. And Humble, who conducted a lottery Tuesday to see who gets to serve each of the 126 health districts in the state, said the first of those shops could be open by the end of this month.


"I gave him a waiver and put kind of a wall between Mr. Horne and myself so that he could represent this position and he could still represent me with other attorneys on the other side,' Brewer said.


AG Horne said this arrangement will allow one of his deputies to continue to provide legal advice to Humble even as he personally pursues a court order declaring the dispensaries preempted by federal law.


As many may remember, Governor Brewer initially tried to halt the medical marijuana program. "I took it to court and I was ruled against, (with a judge) saying that I had to implement the law,” Brewer recalled Thursday ."So we moved forward under the direction of the court.”


But the governor said Horne and Montgomery remain free to try to shut down the dispensaries anyway.


"If they believe they have a reason to think they can get that overturned, they have that right and privilege to do that,” Brewer said. "But in the meantime we have and will continue to move forward until we hear differently.”


In other words, the battle over medical marijuana in AZ is far from over.




NJ's Medical Marijuana Program Finally Takes Off

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, August, 10th 2012 by THCFinder
New Jersey approved a medical marijuana program more than two years ago but the program will finally begin to go into effect on Thursday.
That's the day when qualified patients can first register to receive an ID card for purchasing medical marijuana. That doesn't mark the start of any drug availability which is likely to come sometime next month.
Creating a patient registry is an important first step in allowing patients to use medical marijuana. But that doesn't mean people who participate in the system are safe from legal consequences.
New Jersey is the 17th state to permit medical marijuana but possession and use of the drug is still a violation of federal law, medical use or no.
The fact that a patient is allowed to purchase and use marijuana under state law does not protect them from federal prosecution, according to a Supreme Court case from 2005. Obama has said that it's not his priority to bust medical marijuana users, but that doesn't mean the government is ignoring dispensaries, reports LA Weekly.
The legal murkiness doesn't seem to be stopping New Jersey from going through with plans to allow medical marijuana. The state already has about 150 doctors registered to prescribe the drug and six nonprofit dispensaries with a license to sell.
Only one of those dispensaries currently has a site but it plans to begin selling soon, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Greenleaf Compassion Center of Montclair, New Jersey hopes to open its doors in September pending final permits. Until other dispensaries open it will be the sole provider of medical marijuana in the state.


Medical Marijuana: Arizona's Dispensary Lottery Results in Legal Confusion

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, August, 8th 2012 by THCFinder
Well, we really don't know what to make of all this...
As we have been attentively tracking any and all U.S. drug policy developments, a common motif is the legal confusion surrounding medical marijuana.
In California, for example, some municipalities have held back on clearly defining dispensary policies, as they are not sure about the relationship between federal statute -- which bars bud -- and state statute -- which welcomes weed. Officials in other cities, such as Oakland, have banded behind dispensaries, outright criticizing federal crackdowns as harmful to patients.
In Colorado, on the other hand, much of the state is vehemently pro-prescription pot and plan on protesting Barack Obama's anti-drug policies when he makes a campaign stop in the swing state.
Things get really weird, though, when we talk about Arizona.
Remember that the state's health officials planned on holding a lottery to dole out dispensary permits for prescription pot?
The contest did take place yesterday, awarding 97 licenses in a "four-hour, bingo-style drawing," according to the Arizona Republic.
However, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne believes that the dispensaries break federal drug laws.
And Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery promised to prosecute any and all pot shops.
All of this, of course, comes after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Horne tried to put the kibosh on kush with a federal law suit last year.
However, the judge junked their lawsuit, and a lower-court judge also determined that the dispensary process must continue.
And so the U.S. cannabis circus continues -- nobody really knows WTF is up, and it's unclear whether that will be resolved anytime soon.


Medical Marijuana Crackdown: 10 More Colorado Pot Dispensaries Near Schools Ordered To Shut Down Or Move

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, August, 6th 2012 by THCFinder
On Friday, U.S. Attorney John Walsh's office issued letters to the owners of 10 medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado that are within 1,000 feet of schools notifying them that they have 45 days to shut down, move their business or face federal enforcement action.
According to 7News, the 10 shops that got the letters are in the Denver metro area and in southern Colorado.
This is the third wave of letters Walsh has sent out to Colorado dispensares deemed too close to schools. In January, the first round of letters were sent to 23 medical marijuana businesses and in March another 25 letters were sent out.
After an order to shutdown one marijuana shop was withdrawn when the shop pointed out that the school it was near was no longer in use, a total of 47 of Colorado's medical marijuana dispensaries have now been shuttered since the crackdown began in January in what has become the most aggressive law-enforcement action against the medical marijuana industry that the federal government has pursued in the state.
Walsh's office cites the Controlled Substances Act, title 21, section 860, a federal law which references the 1,000 foot boundary for manufacturing or distributing a controlled substance near a school or college, although nothing in Colorado's medical marijuana law specifies the distance between a shop and a school, the decision, like most such zoning matters, is left to local communities.
"I can see no legitimate basis in this judicial district to focus the resources of the United States government on the medical marijuana dispensaries that are otherwise compliant with Colorado law or local regulation," Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett told Walsh in a recent letter. "The people of Boulder County do not need Washington, D.C., or the federal government dictating how far dispensaries should be from schools, or other fine points of local land use law.”


Medical marijuana advocates want Costa Mesa voters to lift ban

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, August, 2nd 2012 by THCFinder
Medical marijuana advocates on Wednesday submitted nearly 6,800 signatures to the Costa Mesa city clerk in hopes of placing an initiative on the November ballot that would legalize nonprofit collectives citywide.
"It's imperative to provide safe access for veterans and cancer patients," said dispensary owner Robert Martinez. "I'm super stoked to bring these signatures."
Martinez held a news conference outside of City Hall announcing that he and members of the Orange County Cannabis Alliance gathered nearly 1,000 more valid signatures than the 5,812 required, or 10% of registered voters, the Daily Pilot reported.
"This is people taking ownership of democracy," said Robert Jurgensen, a military veteran and vice president of the alliance's Political Action Committee.
City Atty. Tom Duarte's analysis of the initiative shows that it would lift the city's ban on marijuana dispensaries and authorize nonprofit collectives to set up storefronts.
Dispensaries would be prohibited from being within 1,000 feet of a school, but would not have to notify the city of their operation or seek its permission, according to the initiative.
They would not need a business license, special site plan or a variance and could be inspected only annually.
The group is operating in a small window to get their initiative on the November ballot. The deadline to get materials on the November ballot is Aug. 10.
"A lot of people feel they've been fighting an oppressive local government," said Ryan Hollander, a founding member of the cannabis alliance and owner of the LiveWell dispensary in Costa Mesa.
Like the 40 or so other marijuana storefronts in Costa Mesa, Hollander's business was shut down after federal authorities raided stores or sent letters ordering their closure earlier this year.
Over the last four years, Costa Mesa police have targeted dispensaries that they said were egregiously violating the state's Compassionate Use Act which permitted medicinal marijuana collectives by operating essentially as storefront dealers.
Duarte asked for the U.S. attorney office's help late last year, leading to raids and notices to shut down in January.


Medical Marijuana Crackdown: Come Mourn the Closure of the Vapor Room Tonight

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, July, 31st 2012 by THCFinder
As we warned last week, the Vapor Room and Hopenet medical marijuana dispensaries were the feds' next victims in this crackdown on pot clubs -- and tonight the doors will close. 
So here's your chance to grieve. 
According to the Vapor Room's Facebook page, the dispensary will shut its doors at 9 p.m. sharp Afterward, friends, family, and fellow tokers are invited to the Otis Lounge to lament another pot club closure in San Francisco. 
The Vapor Room Cooperative invites you to celebrate over 8 wonderful years of service to our members, the cannabis community and the City of San Francisco. Though we are forced to close our doors, we do so with heavy hearts and invite you to remember the good times with us. Our legendary lounge is closing at 9pm Tuesday, July 31st. Afterwards, we'll be celebrating and sharing stories with friends, family, colleagues & supporters at Otis Lounge at 10pm.
The two closures tonight will mark the seventh and eighth local pot clubs shut down by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag in less than a year.
In both cases, landlords got the fatal letter Haag had been mailing to dispensaries, warning them of property seizures, or decades-long prison terms if the dispensaries didn't close their doors -- now. The Vapor Room says its Haight Street location is problematic because the feds say it's too close to the Duboce Park Playground, and while Martin Olive, Vapor Room's executive director told SF Weekly that he is "unsure" what path the business will take, HopeNet will go delivery-only starting Aug. 1.
Tomorrow, the Save Safe Access coalition will hold a mock funeral "in response to the outrageous federal assault on medical cannabis patients and providers." The march will begin at 4 p.m. at the corner of Haight and Steiner streets. Followed by a New Orleans-style marching band, protesters will carry faux coffins down Haight Street all the way to the Federal Building on Golden Gate Avenue. There, the coalition members will host a press conference, detailing how these pot club closures are hurting San Franciscans. 
According to Safe Access: "San Francisco has been a sanctuary for medical cannabis since 2000. Unfortunately, safe access to medical cannabis is now in jeopardy, unless we take action to save safe access in San Francisco."
See you tonight.



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