White Mountain Case Update

October 20, 2012 by Arizona Dispense No Comments

12 News reports on the landmark White Mountain Health Center case:

The Phoenix New Times also has one of the first stories regarding the case:

Arizona Medical-Marijuana Law Debated in Court; Judge Criticizes Wording of 2010 Law

Dispensary Seminar in Scottsdale July 28th 2012

July 21, 2012 by Arizona Dispense No Comments

Steve DeAngelo from Harborside Health Center in Oakland will be hosting a seminar at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale on July 28th, 2012. Arizona Dispensary Solutions is a co-sponsor at this seminar. Please see the July newsletter for more details.

July 2012 Newsletter

Application and Licensing Press Release

February 22, 2012 by Arizona Dispense No Comments

Arizona Dispensary Solutions Simplifies the Application and Licensing Process

What do landlords and dispensary owners need to know?

PHOENIX, Feb. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The dispensary application portion of the Arizona Medical Marijuana program has been on hold for the last 9 months and is set to begin as early as April 2012. As prospective owners find locations to open an Arizona dispensary, the commercial real estate market is seeing heated competition in some areas for locations that are compliant with local medical marijuana land use requirements. This is because dispensary applicants also have to submit documentation of property owner approval for use and compliance with local jurisdiction zoning.

Read more…

Dispensaries in AZ this summer?

January 26, 2012 by Arizona Dispense No Comments

Based on today’s post from the Arizona Department of Health Services, the dispensary application process is set forth to resume soon. The Arizona DHS has a vested interest in getting the dispensaries open to reduce the number of home-grown operations currently active in Arizona. Based on this, Will Humble has detailed where they are in the process and what changes are coming.

We are simply waiting on the latest version of the rules which could be released in a matter of days. A competitive and comprehensive application package will be needed to get a dispensary license. We are in the process of streamlining our offerings and will keep you updated when the final “express” rules are released.

Please see the latest post below:

Dispensaries in AZ this Summer?

The Truth About Medical Marijuana

August 12, 2011 by Arizona Dispense 1 Comment

The Truth About Medical Marijuana
By Doug Banfelder

The Arizona Republic has apparently decided not to print this rebuttal to “addiction psychiatrist” and marijuana prohibitionist Ed Gogek’s “My Turn” editorial that appeared in the paper on 8/4/11.

In an effort to sow the seeds of public confusion, marijuana prohibitionist Edward Gogek employs tired rhetoric about “drug abusers” and “recreational use” (My Turn, August 4) while conveniently ignoring the truth about medical marijuana and the patients who benefit from it.

First, he complains that most medical marijuana (“MMJ”) patients cite pain as their reason for seeking a state card. Yes, pain is the predominant ailment cited, but what does this prove? Many experience the “aches and pains” of advancing age – and almost 40% of MMJ patients are over fifty.

Might it be that people suffering from daily pain simply prefer a natural herbal remedy to those manufactured in a lab? If one can choose between a drug with pleasant side affects verses those with adverse consequences, which is the more logical choice?

Mr. Gogek also makes much of the fact that most MMJ patients are men, while women generally claim pain more often to their doctors. To strengthen his thesis he adds the assertion that substance abuse is primarily a male disorder, and concludes that since more men than woman are currently Arizona MMJ patients, they must be using marijuana for purely recreational reasons.

Consider, however, the political and legal status of Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act: confusion reigns, thanks in part to the Governor and Attorney General’s federal lawsuit (to which federal lawyers have recently responded by filing a motion to dismiss for lack of legal merit) and generally negative local media coverage.

Is it really any surprise that qualifying women patients have not come forward in their true number, when seeking a patient card more resembles an act of defiance than the exercise of a perfectly legal right?

Prohibitionists such as Mr. Gogek want Arizona to go back to criminalizing these citizens and restricting their pain relief choices to expensive, addictive, synthetic medications. This is the conditioned response of someone under the influence of seventy years of anti-marijuana propaganda.

The failed, expensive and hypocritical “War on Drugs” incarcerates peaceful citizens at heavy social cost. Breaking up families and causing productive wage earners to lose their jobs simply for seeking relief from pain or other ailments is neither fair nor wise public policy.

The general public clearly understands this. Currently, twenty-five percent of Americans live in a state with medical marijuana programs, with more and more states considering such legislation.

Those who doubt that marijuana has medicinal value should speak with a patient; the range of conditions marijuana helps patients manage is truly astonishing, and must be why the pharmaceutical industry now has over fifty researchers attempting to isolate the plants’ active ingredients.

Attorney General Tom Horne has estimated that Arizona’s medical marijuana industry could generate $40 million annually in taxes; others say that it could be significantly more. The public supports adding a reasonable sales tax to medical marijuana. Arizona could certainly use the funds, and should allow patients their choice of medicine as provided by passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

Mr. Gogek could then return his focus to treating abusers of hard drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, oxycontin, hydrocodone and percocet. Medical Marijuana is a safe alternative to many over-prescribed pain relievers; as such, it should be welcomed by those professing an interest in saving people from the ravages of drug abuse.

The Protect Arizona Patients Coalition urges the Arizona Republic to report objectively on the issue of medical marijuana. To do so requires only that its reporters talk with MMJ patients and their doctors. Many of our members would welcome that opportunity.

2012: The First Stage of the Medical Marijuana Bubble

August 2, 2011 by Arizona Dispense No Comments

Within the last two decades, there has been an emerging growth trend in the American medical marijuana industry. Ten years ago, few people could have predicted that the Washington D.C. Dept. of Health and the Arizona Dept. of Health Services would simultaneously be implementing dispensary-based medical marijuana programs.

An upward trajectory is occurring because the majority of patients utilizing medical marijuana as a complementary medicine are baby boomers who are experiencing chronic pain symptoms and cannot obtain relief through traditional therapeutic models. Seasoned investors know that these individuals have higher levels of discretionary income and prefer product consistency through legal and streamlined channels.

The common misperception about dispensaries is that product segmentation caters to individuals in their 20s and 30s who smoke medical marijuana. However, the latest patient report published by the Arizona Department of Health Services shows that 59.9% of medical marijuana patients are over the age of 40. Also, sales figures from dispensaries show that edible products and tinctures made from plant extract are more popular among the patient population. Medical marijuana administered orally is more potent, causes no lung damage, and generates substantially higher margins than its smokable counterpart.

The political risk associated with medical marijuana is on the decline as former U.S. Attorney and current New Jersey governor Chris Christie(R) started implementing his state’s medical marijuana program on July 19th, while Barney Frank(D) and Dana Rohrabacher(R) have sponsored a bill that would leave marijuana regulation to the states. With over $14 billion worth of medical marijuana sold in the state of California every year and $9.9 billion spent annually during the debt ceiling crisis, federal agencies have a hard time justifying enforcement against state-regulated programs. Also, which lawmaker wants to prosecute military veterans who effectively use cannabis for chronic pain and PTSD?

The footprint of state-regulated medical marijuana programs will continue to expand as Illinois, Maryland, and New York are the next growth regions for this sector in the next 12 to 18 months based on the strategic plan set forth by the Marijuana Policy Project. We project that the current growth pattern is the beginning of a bubble where legislative reform on federal and state levels will lead to widespread interstate competition and price normalization by 2016.

Arizona DHS Director served with lawsuit

June 15, 2011 by Arizona Dispense 1 Comment

Lawsuit filed in Court of Appeals

The lawsuit seeking a Writ of Mandamus has been filed against the Arizona Department of Health Services in the Arizona Court of Appeals (Case # 1 CA-SA11-0161).  The primary purpose of the lawsuit is to begin implementing the dispensary application process immediately based on the final rules filed by the Arizona Department of Health Services with the Arizona Secretary of State on April 14, 2011.

These are the plaintiffs:

  • O.F.&C. dba The Virtue Center

  • Elements Therapeutic Dispensary
  • Arizona Dispensary Solutions
  • Protect Arizona Patients
  • Heather Torgerson (patient)
  • Stephen Johnson (patient)
  • John and Jane Doe I-X (currently unnamed)
  • Black  CorporationS I-X (currently unnamed)
Using a strong legal strategy, a well-crafted petition, and an experienced litigator representing us, attorney David Dow was able to get the case filed first thing yesterday morning in the Court of Appeals.  Fortunately, the case was taken directly to the judge who reviewed the case and agreed to process it and to accept it in the court.  We were assigned three moderate judges and a hearing date the morning of July 12th, so mark your calendars.  Will Humble, Director of AZ DHS, acknowledged being served with our lawsuit on his blog last night.

Will Humble Blog Post

Also, there was a case filed by the Rose Law Firm yesterday in the Maricopa County Superior Court.  To our knowledge, Will Humble and AZ DHS have not yet been served with that lawsuit. Releases have been sent to all the major news organizations letting them know that an expedited petition has been filed in the Court of Appeals.  Coverage has already begun.

We will be doing a technical amendment to the petition within the next few days, so if we have other petitioners who want to join in the action, please let us know asap.  

For those of you who have not yet seen it, the ultimatum letter from Carolyn Short to Will Humble dated February 16th 2011 is also an interesting read as it indicates a threatening tone towards a public official by the leader of Keep AZ Drug Free, the losing anti-Proposition 203 campaign.

Carolyn Short email

We will continue to keep you updated regarding the medical marijuana industry in Arizona.

Protect Arizona Patients

This lawsuit is being supported by Protect Arizona Patients.  Protect Arizona Patients is a ‘first responder’ non-profit organization designed for the sole purpose of creating an entity to provide an immediate and decisive response to any adverse actions taken against the Arizona medical marijuana industry. The organization fully supports the efforts of national organizations whose mission is to proactively advance the interests of the MMJ industry on an ongoing basis.  Supporters of a strong & regulated medical marijuana industry are encouraged to contribute to the effort.

Letter from Carolyn Short to Will Humble

June 9, 2011 by Arizona Dispense 2 Comments

Carolyn Short, who led last year’s unsuccessful campaign to defeat Proposition 203, refers to a private meeting with Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne in a February 16 letter to state Department of Health Services Director Will Humble.

Since this email was written in February, it contradicts Governor Brewer and AG Horne’s claim that the state filed the Declaratory Judgment action as a result of Dennis Burke’s May 2 letter.

Humble Short Letter

Arizona vs The United States of America

May 28, 2011 by Arizona Dispense 4 Comments

Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer has filed a lawsuit (Complaint for Declaratory Judgment) in the United States District Court in the state of Arizona with the following prayer for relief:

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs respectfully request a declaratory judgment as follows:
A. The Court declare the respective rights and duties of the Plaintiffs and the Defendants regarding the validity, enforceability, and implementation of the AMMA (Arizona Medical Marijuana Act).
B. The Court determine whether strict compliance and participation in the AMMA provides a safe harbor from federal prosecution.
C. The Court grant such other and further relief as it deems appropriate and proper.

The Arizona Department of Health Services has suspended the dispensary application process that was scheduled to begin on June 1st and last for 30 days. We are now in a holding pattern to determine which steps can be taken next by stakeholders in Arizona outside of the defendants named in the lawsuit.

These are the Plaintiffs:

  • JANICE K. BREWER, Governor of the State of Arizona, in her Official Capacity
  • WILL HUMBLE, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, in his Official Capacity
  • ROBERT C. HALLIDAY, Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, in his Official Capacity

These are the Defendants:

  • ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., Attorney General of the United States of America, in his Official Capacity
  • DENNIS K. BURKE, United States Attorney for the District of Arizona, in his Official Capacity
  • SERENITY ARIZONA, INC., an Arizona nonprofit corporation
  • HOLISTIC HEALTH MANAGEMENT, INC., an Arizona nonprofit corporation
  • DOES I-X (fictitious names because their true names and capacities are unknown)
  • DOES XI-XX (fictitious names because their true names and capacities are unknown)

This is the statement from the Arizona Department of Health Services:

The Attorney General filed for declaratory judgment in federal court about the legality of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and our Rules. Because of the court filing and legal advice from the Attorney General, ADHS won’t accept dispensary applications in June. However, we will continue to process applications for Patient and Caregiver cards.

As of May 24th, 3,696 patients have been approved by the Arizona DHS as Qualifying Patients.

The Arizona Department of Health Services’ Directors blog posted a statement on May 28th at 12:30 AM.

You can see the full text of the complaint here:

Complaint for Declaratory Judgment

These are the facts as of this moment. We will keep you updated regarding the implementation of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act as new developments arise.

UPDATE: This is patent 6,630,507 granted to the United States Department of Health & Human Services stating that cannabinoids are useful as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. The Controlled Substances Act states that cannabis has no medicinal value.

Arizona medical marijuana discussion

May 11, 2011 by Arizona Dispense No Comments

Joe Yuhas of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association (AzMMA) discusses the implementation of the medical marijuana program in Arizona on Horizon Eight. 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.

Final Rules Released

March 28, 2011 by Arizona Dispense 2 Comments

The final set of rules for the implementation of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act were just released this morning. These are the highlights:

  • Dispensary applications will be taken on June 1st 2011 (a month later than previously stated)
  • Special use permits, if required by the city, must be in hand before applying for a dispensary certificate
  • Access to $150,000 must be demonstrated to operate a dispensary
  • Dispensaries can have retail locations in one CHAA and a cultivation site in another
  • An evaluation process will be used by the AZ DHS to evaluate applications rather than a simple lottery system (this one is complex and I will break it down later)

The AZ DHS Medical Marijuana Final Rules website:

Arizona DHS releases Official Draft Rules

January 31, 2011 by Arizona Dispense 2 Comments

This morning, the Arizona DHS released the official draft rules available here. These are the highlights:

  • Dispensary applicants now face a 3 year residency requirement instead of 2 as stated in the initial draft rules
  • Verbiage about requiring a pharmacist available to the dispensary is removed
  • The 70/30 cultivation ratio has been removed
  • Medical director is now more loosely defined
  • There is now a two-step process for dispensary applicants which reduces upfront risk
  • A portion (20%) of the $5000 application fee is now refundable

We will add more information as we continue analysis. Stay tuned.

Tempe City Council poised to limit medical marijuana access

January 26, 2011 by Arizona Dispense No Comments

Tomorrow, January 27, the Tempe City Council is slated to vote on an ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation within the city.

The ordinance would severely inconvenience Tempe’s patients by only allowing medical marijuana facilities to operate in a very limited area of the city – mostly industrial areas – and restricting operating hours to 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Please e-mail the council today!

Briefly and politely ask the council to amend the current ordinance so that medical marijuana dispensaries are treated like medical facilities – not some kind of nuisance. Then, please call the office of Mayor Hugh Hallman at (480) 350-8865 and give him the same message.

Also, please attend the council hearing on Thursday to voice your support for medical marijuana in Tempe.

Tempe City Council Meeting
31 East Fifth Street, Tempe, AZ 85281
Thursday, January 27, 2011 – 7:30 P.M.
(This is a professional meeting; please dress and act accordingly.)

Thank you for ensuring that Tempe patients enjoy the convenient, open, and safe access that Arizona voters intended. Please pass this message on to other Tempe residents who support medical marijuana and Proposition 203.

Happy New Year from Arizona Dispensary Solutions!

December 31, 2010 by Arizona Dispense 3 Comments

This year has been amazing for medical marijuana supporters in this conservative state. We Arizonans have been granted an opportunity to create an industry from the ground up and were active participants in the democratic process. My partner and I started this firm with the confidence that we will be able to help motivated individuals be part of a booming medical marijuana industry in 2011. I also found this picture of my ballot from the election and wanted to share it as being part of the sweeping change this legislation will bring us. Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

Informal Draft Rules for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act are online

December 17, 2010 by Arizona Dispense 2 Comments

This morning, the Arizona Department of Health Services released the informal draft rules for the Proposition 203 act that was signed into law on December 14th. It is now open for public comment and can be accessed directly here. It is currently open for comment and the public can voice their opinions regarding these rules using this form.

The AZ DHS Prop 203 site has also been updated to reflect this new information: http://azdhs.gov/prop203/

Informal Medical Marijuana Administrative Code due this Friday

December 13, 2010 by Arizona Dispense No Comments

This is a re-post of the Arizona DHS Director’s latest blog entry and is available here . We will be able to provide deeper insight into several questions after the rules have been publicly posted and will link directly to them here.

All Systems Go for Friday

Posted: 10 Dec 2010 12:35 AM PST

Our preparation for the implementation of the AZ Medical Marijuana Act is on track. We’ve made a great deal of progress on all fronts over the last couple of weeks. The informal draft of the Administrative Code that we’ll release next Friday is really starting to gel. We’ve got the key elements hammered out and our Rules team will be doing the cross matching with the initiative as well as the internal rule indexing over the coming week. Once our Medical Officers team reviews the draft rule next Wednesday, I’ll check out their recommendations and we’ll put the finishing touches on the informal draft Rule.

IT has made tremendous progress on the “front end” of the database for the qualified patient and caregiver electronic application. They’ve started work on the “back end” and relational pieces. Our Webmaster and Marketing Committee helped polish the website for next Friday when you’ll see our re-vamped website including FAQs for the general public and Stakeholders. Out IT team has also finished development of the electronic tool that we’ll use to solicit electronic comments from the public from December 17 through January 7.

Vital Records and Environmental Health have begun developing workflow templates and resource needs assessments. Procurement and finance have done some background work on their pieces too. Communications has begun writing the media release for next Friday and is putting the finishing touches on the FAQ for the general public that we’ll post next Friday.

All in all, it’s been a very productive couple of weeks. Thanks for stepping up everyone!

Local ordinances will keep evolving

December 8, 2010 by Arizona Dispense 6 Comments

Before Proposition 203 passed in Arizona, the city of Tucson passed an ordinance on September 22nd setting operating hours for medical marijuana dispensaries within Tucson city limits. A reporter for the Arizona Daily Star wrote about city ordinances throughout the state that include a statement about Tucson setting a precedent with a 9 AM to 5 PM. However, on November 23rd, an addendum was passed in the Tucson City Council that changed the operational hours from 9 AM to 7 PM.

This time span, although short, is much more aligned with dispensary hours of cities within the state of Colorado. Cities in Arizona may have preemptively passed ordinances putting unreasonable restrictions on dispensaries, but these are subject to change and are not written in stone. Local reporters may not have the latest information and the city websites don’t regularly upload the latest version of the ordinance. This is part of the process and the local media still has a bias towards the sensational side of marijuana instead of information that is relevant to caregivers and patients.

The ordinance amendment regarding Tucson can be found here. Please refer to agenda item 10 within the Action Summary page.

Marijuana Inc. is real

November 23, 2010 by Arizona Dispense 4 Comments

However, it has to be a non-profit in Arizona based on the rules set forth in Proposition 203. The documentary Marijuana Inc. aired on CNBC when California was the only state that had decriminalized medicinal marijuana. In the documentary, one of the topics mentioned is the “Starbucks effect” where dispensaries were growing at an unsustainable rate. Colorado also saw the same phenomenon occur when its laws began to grant patients access to high-grade legalized marijuana and has already begun a reformation to curb the growth of dispensaries.

Arizona seems to have put in initial countermeasures by forcing dispensaries to incorporate as non-profits while limiting the number allowed to less than a hundred per major population center. This is based on using a 10:1 ratio of pharmacies to dispensaries that allow a total of 124 dispensaries in the state of Arizona. The state expects over 5000 applications and has even postponed the docket to evaluate and monitor the health and safety in licensed behavioral health facilities in Arizona as Proposition 203 has superseded in priority due to the nature of the bill. On December 17th, the Arizona Department of Health Services will release the first informal draft of the rules and will be open for comment. This can only get more interesting.