Legality of Medical Marijuana Clubs in Arizona Questioned by State Officials

Categories: Medical Weed
humble dhs site.jpg
Image: Arizona Department of Health Services
Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, writes in his latest blog post that his agency has "serious concerns" about the legality of cannabis clubs.

The rise of medical-marijuana clubs in Arizona is giving state officials an anxiety attack.

Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, writes in his latest blog post that his agency has asked the state Attorney General's Office to check into whether the clubs can operate legally.

We've been telling you about these clubs for a few weeks now, and it's probably no coincidence that Humble's announcement comes on the same day New Times published a comprehensive article about medical marijuana that prominently mentions the clubs. Since Governor Jan Brewer and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne stalled the voter-approved dispensary industry, the compassion clubs have been filling the gap for qualified patients who want to obtain medicinal weed.

Humble writes: 

 

club edibles 1.jpg
Image: Jamie Peachey
Medical marijuana "edibles" are among the offerings to patients at local compassion clubs.
"The Arizona Department of Health Services has serious concerns about the legality of so-called cannabis clubs. The information that we have regarding these "clubs" suggests that they are distributing marijuana to customers in a way that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, and the persons involved could be conducting illegal marijuana transactions. For this reason, we have referred this issue to the Arizona Attorney General's Office for review and analysis by its civil and criminal divisions."

Of course, Horne's the same Prop 203 critic who's helping Brewer thwart voters, so we're wary that his office's "analysis" might contain a heap of political bias.

Time will tell if the public will be allowed to inspect the requested analysis, if and when it's completed.

As we noted in this week's feature article, state officials refuse to release publicly their written analysis of the state's legal theories behind the move to reject dispensary applications.

This lack of transparency by our leaders doesn't inspire much confidence in the legitimacy of their decisions.

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29 comments
Been Smoking Too Long
Been Smoking Too Long

Music has many benefits and uses forpersonal healing and in the medical world. Integrating music like Shambhu'sSacred Love into a healing regimen can benefit people who suffer from a wideassortment of ailments and conditions.

Ceo Azcs
Ceo Azcs

 I have been to many of these clubs, almost all of them actually and I have found one thing in common with them all, they are all different. Some take a donation to the club and allow access, once inside patients can get free sample of medical marijuana donated by local patients and caregivers. Some take donations right at a counter and then hand the medical marijuana over to the patient, very similar to what most would consider a "point of sale" at any regular place of commerce.

Is one more legal than the other? NO

Whether you take a mandatory membership fee at the door OR you allow people to make donations towards the TOTAL reimbursement for production of medication and operational costs of the facility itself (acting as a non-profit, what prop 203 demanded we do) you are NOT breaking the law.

Let's take our Compassion Center for an example, we offer a wide variety of services to our members. We have everything from acupuncturists to aroma therapy, licensed massage therapists on staff as well as reflexology specialists. You can get paraphernalia, medication, live plants and classes in how to do various things such as cooking and growing. We offer the public a free class every month on "Rights Assertion"  or how to legally assert your rights. We offer a program to patients that are not members of our Collective and that have fallen on hard times with their own crops or their caregiver has had a problem, the program is called "Access to Excess" and its pretty self explanatory. We offer patients access to our growers excess medication in exchange for something. Yup, in exchange for something, I said it and I meant it.The law states that "nothing of value" can be transferred so we don't transfer anything of value. instead the patient, if physically able to do so can perform community service work in the area around our establishments in exchange for medication.

One thing we don't do is "sell pot". In fact you can't even receive medication from our center unless you are a member of the Collective, and to join the Collective you MUST designate Arizona Cannabis Society as your caregiver. Our Collective operates specifically for those who do not wish to or do not have the means to grow their own medical marijuana as many are being forced to do in the wake of the dispensary stall by Gov Brewer. we are here to offer these people some assistance, and as you can all clearly see we aren't going anywhere.

If the AG or Gov Brewer or even Will humble would like to know what happens in a Compassion Club they are going to need a prop 203 card to find out, these clubs are all "private" and for the sole and exclusive use of its membership. If those words sound familiar they should, they are a direct quote from the definitions in the Rules & regs package from DHS.

Or perhaps they could pick up a phone and call us, after all, these "clubs" came from us. The idea was originated by our group a while back and we have been successfully filing the void Brewer has created for patients ever since. In fact we currently assist Arizona's youngest mmj patient with his medication. He is a 9 yr old boy fighting cancer and his caregiver heard about our programs and came to us for assistance and guidance. You want to know why I started the "compassion clubs" folks? Go look into the eyes of a child with cancer and tell me what we do isn't necessary or should be illegal.

I'm willing to fight this with the State and/or the Feds and on their doorstep in the 9th is where I want to take it! This WILL end up as a Constitutional Rights case, mark my words AZ!

Bill HayesArizona Cannabis Society

Frontera
Frontera

Next time Horne tries to run for office EVERYONE make sure they vote against him !

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

Just legalize the shit aready. This medical marijuana ruse is ridiculous all the way around.

Evalleyguy
Evalleyguy

I own one of these clubs and we did our due diligence prior.  The AG said, we are totally legal but of course he'll wait to issue a statement as they have no idea what to do now.  I guess they never thought how they screwed over the many who have a ton of money invested in opening a dispensary and then they decided to halt it last minute.  

Well I hope this creates a HUGE problem for the state now.  They deserve what they brought on. 

Steve
Steve

At the end of the day or glorious gov Jan is stalling to get this issue back on the ballet to try to get it voted down by the people . Yes , it passed once however by them demonizing the industry it will be easier to do this for them . It is so important for the compassion clubs to opperate within the rules setup for the dispensaries as if they were a dispensary. Remember we all need to stay united to help this program continue. Please talk to people and keep them educated about all of the problems we are having with our wonderful Gov. Jan Remember demand safe medicine !AZ Med Testing

Edgar A Suter
Edgar A Suter

What better reason to come to TODAY's (SATURDAY) free meeting 3PM Club Red in Tempe than Mr. Humble's latest consultation with the Attorney General?

Details at http://www.azaod.com/

Attorney Gary Smith and others will address the question: "Are Compassion Clubs legal?"

Come and network: patients with green thumbs, patients without green thumbs, caregivers, etc.

humpty dumpty
humpty dumpty

I think (and probably assume too much) that the quibble is not so much with the idea of bona fide patients and caregivers sharing medicine (which I believe the law says is fine), but with "club owners" profiteering from such operations.  There are plenty of groups that are genuinely about ensuring that patients have secure access to quality medicine and only wish to recoup any costs (rent of office or other space, utilities, et cetera), and, as with any industry, there will be those for whom the only green that matters is the spending kind.  With the law's (and AZDHS' rules') emphasis on non-profit-ness, the profiteers are not operating within the spirit (and possibly) the letter of the law.  I just hope that the real-deal compassion groups get left alone and not caught up with the bad actors.  My $.02.

EpicAZ
EpicAZ

"The Arizona Department of Health Services has serious concerns about the legality of so-called cannabis clubs."

Well, the thousands of medical marijuana cardholders have SERIOUS CONCERNS over where they can obtain their LEGALIZED medical marijuana, for which they have already paid and submitted proper paperwork to receive their cards. 

It amazes me that the majority of Arizona voters are apathetic to our state's attempt to undermine the democratic process.

The AZDHS is happy to accept payment for patient and caregiver cards, yet when it comes to actually allowing those patients to receive marijuana - they are completely against it.

It sounds to me like Will Humble and the rest of the DHS staff have been smoking too much reefer themselves - and I don't any of them have MMJ cards.

Sam
Sam

The issue at hand is definately "Political" They do not care about the voters, they just care about the votes. The MMJ law has been on the books since I believe, 1996!! I would think that at some point in all this time they could have figured out how to facilitate it. They (AZDHS, AG, Brewer) have in my opinion violated many Civil Rights in the " Final Draft" that they presented to the public as to how all of this would be implemented. Furthermore, the Law is the Law!!! It clearly states that "Certified Patients" and "Caregivers" can Obtain, Posses, Exchange and Cultivate according to the Law that was " Passed" by the Arizona voters. I do not see anywhere in the Law that states that this cannot be done as a "Compassion Club, Collective or whatever else you would like to call it!! So what is there to check out? This is a time when its necessary for all of the Arizona Voters to Speak up and remind our so called Representitives of who exactly they work for and who technically pays their bills. Prop 203 was Voted in and thats it!! They may not like it or agree with it but it is a fact. Would it be a stretch to say that by not Implementing a Law or trying to Obstruct a Law is actually "Breaking the Law"

Frontera
Frontera

I have a funny feeling a JUDGE is gonna RULE for  sick people to get the medicine thier      DOCTOR  reccomends is best for them  (MMJ)

Trommy Themulus
Trommy Themulus

This state sure has it's share of outstanding leadership and politicians who put the will of the people and the good for all at the forefront.  I'd like to nominate Brewer, Horne, Pearce and Maricopa Counties esteemed Sheriff Joe, for a very special award.  Thank you all for your outstanding leadership and for making our will your own.  You're all truly very special.  What will we ever do without you come our next election?

Solid1jay
Solid1jay

Glad I moved back to Alaska.

teknik1200
teknik1200

I lived up there for 10 years!  It's nice and I sure miss g'wood.

J Curwen
J Curwen

To paraphrase the late Dennis Hopper: "If Horne hadn't been dishonest in the first place, none of this would ever have happened." Place the blame where it belongs: at the feet of the control freaks in the offices of the governor and the attorney general.

Albert
Albert

"TheArizona Department of Health Services has serious concerns about the legalityof so-called cannabis clubs. The information that we have regarding these"clubs" suggests that they are distributing marijuana to customers ina way that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Arizona Medical MarijuanaAct

First, they are not customers. Second, not being consistentwith the MMA is not right; these patients are merely taking advantage of theother language in the law. The health department has no right to bring this up,the only right they have is to monitor the dispensary system. Which the state…I mean the Gov. and the A.G. has decided to undo the entire law with theirlawsuit to the Federal Government. Just think if they didn’t accept patientapplications. I bet there would be about 1000% more MM patients. The argumentthat they were worried about state workers is BS; they’re still running part ofthe program… still breaking the law??? They just want to have control, and knowwho was a “real” MM patient. It’s a tracking thing… Rather than letting someonetake advantage of the self-enacting clause of the law for MM patients. I stillhaven’t heard anything any attorney’s or the AzMMA offering to get some injunction to stop these illegalbills HB 2541 and HB 2585. Employer (BS) protection bill, andadding info from the health department’s confidential information to the PMPprogram. Even though both bills violate the language and protections in prop203.

J Curwen
J Curwen

Remember: that proposition, now become law, was crafted by people with a pro-MMJ agenda. We are NOT seeing the result of unintended loopholes. We are seeing the results of fail-safe provisions written into the proposition with the intent of thwarting the efforts of Horne, Brewer, and their friends.

So the question arises: did their team of lawyers foresee this eventuality before they filed that law suit? My guess is that they did.

Coz
Coz

Once again, fuck the will of the voters is they're motto.

Phoenix Justice
Phoenix Justice

The "will of the voters" only counts if that "will" restricts the rights of others, such as the anti-gay marriage initiative a couple of years back.  If the "will of the voters" liberally expands rights, then the theocratic fascists choose to thwart the "will".

Pit Boss
Pit Boss

"The "will of the voters" only counts if that "will" restricts the rights of others"

I don't really get your point, but in a nutshell move by Brewer, Horne and Montgomery is essentially restricting the rights of legitimate medical marijuana patients.

RetiredArmy
RetiredArmy

What really needs be understood is that we no longer have a government by for and of the people, we have a government by for and of the corporations that buy and sell our politicians at will. We need to stay focused on the fact that it's large multi national and domestic corporations that are the true enemy to democracy and our freedom. We the people need to understand that if we do not vote then the corporations win. That is why they spend so much money disfranchising the people with propaganda that the government does not work. They want you to believe that your vote does not count. If you do not vote  they win Please everyone stay focused on the real enemy to democracy and get out and vote. It's the only way we can get back control of our government and force our government too take back control of the out of control corporations.

Guest
Guest

Phoenix Justice is saying as long as the "will of the voters" restricts our rights, then we will be heard. When we ask for less law and less government, we are not heard. Our governement does not care about the peope, they only care about their agenda and the agenda is to expand governement and police power. I am all American, grew up believing in America and what it stood for. What we have are people in office that are taking away our freedoms: the only way to turn this around is to vote for the few individuals that support liberty in a fair and just context. Even then we can be fooled as so many of us were fooled by Obama and his lies. 

Guest
Guest

I dont think Phoenix Justice could be more clear.

J Curwen
J Curwen

Read his post over a time or two. It makes sense to me. Now whether I'd say it's 100% true might be another matter, but I think he's on to something.

guest
guest

so in a nutshell --- give the state the money for your card (that we can collect on an annual basis) while we work on making sure you have nowhere to obtain the medicine

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