Tom Horne, State Attorney General, Asks Court to Shut Down Cannabis Clubs; Says He's Taking "Softer Approach" by Not Ordering Arrests

Categories: Medical Weed

TomHorne.jpg
Tom Horne, state Attorney General, has asked a court to rule on the legality of medical marijuana compassion clubs.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne asked a court today to shut down cannabis clubs, claiming they're "blatantly illegal" under Arizona's medical marijuana law.

The motion, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, names four clubs and an individual: "The 2811 Club, The Arizona Compassion Association, Yoki A Ma' Club, the Arizona Compassion Club and Michael R. Miller." Horne wants a judge's ruling that the clubs aren't legal and an injunction to stop them from the "selling, producing, transporting, transferring or possession of marijuana."

Horne was asked to look into the legality of clubs last month by Will Humble, director of the state Department of Health Services, who reportedly became concerned about the clubs after reading a New Times article.

We've been telling you since June about places like the Arizona Compassion Club, both in this blog and in our July 14 feature article about the state of Arizona's medical marijuana law. The clubs operate out of offices around the Valley, charging members who are qualified patients under the law a fee to join. As part of the member benefits, the club staffers say, patients can obtain "free" medical pot products.

We asked Horne if he was just passing the buck on this decision. If he's so sure the clubs are acting illegally, why not just have the clubs raided and their staffs arrested?

"I'm taking a softer approach," Horne tells us.


 

Horne denies that he's going the court route because of doubts about the legality of the clubs, explaining that because the law is new and there are many different "interpretations" of it, he believed involving the court system was more "prudent" than directing police to bust the club operators.

"I'm trying to be a good guy," he says.

The AG's office based its legal analysis on media reports about the clubs' activities and conducted no independent research, Horne acknowledges. But he adds that the scenario seems clear to him: "The problem is they are charging fees. If they did it all for free, it would be legal."

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act states that qualified marijuana patients and caregivers can't be prosecuted for giving pot to another patients or caregiver "if nothing of value is transferred in return..."

Since a qualified patient can grow up to 12 plants, and a registered caregiver up to 12 plants for each of five patients under their care, that could create a lot of excess marijuana that could then be given away.

Horne says he doesn't buy into the idea that the "free" medical marijuana is simply part of the overall benefits of being in the club. Nor does he believe that caregivers, who can grow up to 12 plants for each of five patients, can legally charge a fee to help with growing expenses or other costs associated with producing or distributing any "excess" pot.

Though the civil lawsuit filed by Horne targets only four clubs, a ruling against them would "send a message" to any other clubs in the state.

If a judge agrees with Horne and declares the clubs illegal, Horne says his office would likely set a deadline for the clubs' staff members to get out of the business or face arrest.

This is the second request Horne's made to a court for a declaratory judgment relating to the new medical pot law.

In May, Horne and Governor Jan Brewer filed a lawsuit in federal court that asks a judge to rule whether Arizona's voter-approved law is legal or not.

The U.S. Justice Department has arguably sided with Arizona voters in that case, recently filing a motion that seeks to have Brewer and Horne's lawsuit dismissed.

Horne tells us that he expects to file a response to that motion within the next several days.


UPDATE: Read Horne's two court filings, plus response by Al Sobol of the 2811 Club, LLC.


Below is the full text of a news release Horne sent out today on the issue:


PHOENIX (Monday, August 8, 2011) -- Attorney General Tom Horne today filed a civil action against four Phoenix-area cannabis clubs and one individual that falsely claim to be operating lawfully under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). The action is for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief and is filed on behalf of the State and the Arizona Department of Health Services.

"The law permits one card holder to give marijuana to another card holder. But is does not permit the activities of these Defendants, who charge fees to members. These private entities and individuals are in no way permitted to legally transfer marijuana to anybody," Horne said. "The operators of these clubs claim that they are protected under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act when they are not registered as non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries as required under that law. These people are marketing themselves as being able to lawfully transfer marijuana, and that type of deception and blatantly illegal activity must be stopped."

The filing in Maricopa County Superior Court claims that The 2811 Club, The Arizona Compassion Association, Yoki A Ma' Club, the Arizona Compassion Club and Michael R. Miller are all private cannabis clubs or owners/operators of clubs that have claimed they are able to lawfully participate in the possession, production, transportation, sale, or transfer of marijuana in accordance with A.R. S. § 36-2801 et. seq., the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. However the Act does not offer legal protection to cannabis clubs, cooperatives or any other person, association or entities that are not registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries. Nor does the act decriminalize the possession, production, transportation, sale, or transfer of marijuana by or through those entities.

This action asks the court to issue a declaratory judgment that each of the Defendants is violating the AMMA and prohibit them from engaging in activities that involve selling, producing, transporting, transferring or possession of marijuana.

My Voice Nation Help
23 comments
Lq3536265
Lq3536265

Took me awhile to read all the comments, but I really love the article. It proved to be very useful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It's always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I'm sure you had fun writing this article. Comfortably, the article is really the sweetest on this precious topic. Moncler Men Shoes

seabourne
seabourne

For a great collection of videos of the top doctors and researchers of cannabis paid by the U.S. government see webpage For a great collection of videos of the top doctors and researchers of cannabis paid by the U.S. government see webpage

http://activistcat.com/Videos-... your Congressional Representatives -

It is time to "Change the Schedule of Cannabis, Cannabis Laws, and Drug Czar Laws"

Read and Sign the petition athttp://www.change.org/petition... you sign the petition, email your friendlies, share on facebook, or twitter from the petition page. If you have a website grab the widget so your visitors can sign it without leaving your website.This petition uses laws passed by Congress to point out that by their laws, the laws must change.

If you haven’t asked your representative and senator to support policy change, what are you waiting for? Sign the petition then send a email.

MaintainTheConstitution
MaintainTheConstitution

Educate yourself to the health benefits of marijuana and realize that the "officials" are not protecting your interests, but rather apparently are more concerned with protecting their investments.  http://medicalmarijuanacouncil...  There would be no patent on marijuana if it was not enormously beneficial from a health standpoint. 

MikeParent
MikeParent

concernedparentandtaxpayerThanks for a very informative post.  It goes to show that some of the high ranking the politicians of AZ (Like most other venues) have self serving motives to keep marijuana illegal.  If you want to keep it out of the hands of minors you first have to keep it out of the hands of the dealers.  74 years of prohibition and a wasted TRILLION dollars haven’t been able to accomplish that feat. Perhaps the time has come for to take another path.

Dems and Reps, different pages from the same bad book!

Ron Paul 2012 LEAP.cc             MP, NYPD ret.

concernedparentandtaxpayer
concernedparentandtaxpayer

Ms. Brewer's actions are consistent with her close ties tothe private, for-profit prison industry (the people who want to lock up yourkids so that they can keep on making a buck): Here's some info from Wikipedia,and a link to the underlying story:

“The Brewer administration has also been investigated by KPHO for hiring ChuckCoughlin and Paul Senseman, both lobbyists for Corrections Corporation ofAmerica, as a policy advisor and communications director.[39] Although Coughlincontinues work as both a lobbyist and policy advisor, Senseman no longer doeswork for CCA. CCA operates six private, for-profit prisons in Arizona.[40] ”.Here’s the KPHO story, including a description of tens of thousands of dollarsin campaign money from Corrections Corporation. http://www.kpho.com/news/24834...So Ms. Brewer is working to keep marijuana illegal and is at the same timehiring staff from a very large, for-profit prison corporation and takingcampaign money from them. The AZ campaign finance site is at http://www.azsos.gov/cfs/Campa...but it’s not working for me; can anybody go in and see how much Ms. Brewer hastaken from the prison industry? Is that really the government that we want… runby the prison companies? Is there someone in AZ that could get this info intothe public arena? 

concernedparentandtaxpayer
concernedparentandtaxpayer

Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to dounto us. None of us would want our child thrown in jail with the sexualpredators over marijuana. None of us would want to see an older family member’shome confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuanaplants for their aches and pains. It’s time to stop putting our own familymembers in jail over marijuana.

 

If ordinary Americans could grow a little marijuana in theirown back yards, it would be about as valuable as home-grown tomatoes. Let's putthe criminals out of business and get them out of our neighborhoods. Let's letordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.

 

Here's one way that IT IS REALLY WORKING: Arresting thecriminals and collecting a fee from the registered growers (and bringing inthousands of dollars to support the county budget); what a great plan! This isthe way to build a better America!http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/...

 

The current proposal before Congress, bill HR 2306, willallow states to decide how they will regulate marijuana. Email your Congresspersonand Senators at http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Ele... and ask them to signon as a CO-SPONSOR of HR 2306.

And a big THANK YOU to the courageous, freedom lovinglegislators, governors, and countless others who are working so hard to bringthis through! You’re doing a great patriotic service for all of America! 

CannaCenters
CannaCenters

"The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this." - Albert Einstein quote on Hemphttp://bit.ly/mWjjd9

Zoo
Zoo

How did you guys end up with Hoss as your attorney general anyway?

Coz
Coz

3 words: Dumbass Arizona Voters.

Concernedconstituent
Concernedconstituent

Tom Horne is a convicted criminal that has been banned for life from trading by the SEC and ran his investment firm into bankruptcy. Then he spent the next 30 years as a school administrator running our public education system into the glorious position of #48 out of 50 in the nation. How he ever became our top prosecuter is beyond logic or law. He wouldn't qualify to run a dispensary himself, maybe he's just jealous and needs a way to make money on the deal before he will let it pass. 

Jason
Jason

Our other choice for Republican AG was Arizona's worst nightmare: Candy Andy Thomas.

Coz
Coz

What POS Tom Horny Toad is.

>>"I'm trying to be a good guy," he says.

Coz
Coz

BTW, Tom Horney is still the goofiest looking fucker I've ever seen. 

Harry Wisencraker Jr.
Harry Wisencraker Jr.

This B.S. was planned from day one by Brewer, Pearce, Horne and the rest of the GOP in this state that BELIEVE they have the right to shutdown the "WILL OF THE PEOPLE".  For those aware and remember, this will be the THIRD STRIKE as far as this state overriding the will of the people, just on this issue.  We're starting with Pearce, Brewer's brain trust, and then we can Skewer Brewer on her own "Private Prison" sellout which is really starting to come into focus.  Randy Parraz/Chad Snow, isn't it time to get the GOVERNORS IMPEACHMENT PROCESS rolling?  After a good hard shaking, a kick in the balls and numerous bitch slaps about the head and shoulders the GOP will understand ENOUGH IS FUCKING ENOUGH, how much do you think you will get away with? 

Harry Wisencraker Jr.
Harry Wisencraker Jr.

How much of this state's money are the taxpayers going to have to pour into the effort of ridding ourselves of the criminal element in this state's government before that element realizes the out of state resources and all of the KKK, LDS and right wingnut religious zealots propaganda are not going to help them?  When you go to the poles on November 8th go prepared for an onslaught of bullshit, propaganda and I'm guessing violence from the GOP Gestapo.  Chicago in the 30's, the thugs just won't let go. 

joe
joe

Tom Horne has Failed to go after BILLIONS  of  $$ that are owed by the banks and mortgage companies for perjury, racketeering, wire fraud, mail fraud, and other crimes against Arizona Homeowners. AGs in other states are active in seeking $$ relief from the wall street groups that Stole Trillions but not Tom Horne- with him its about the pot. What a guy !

Coz
Coz

He has also failed to go after all his political cronies in the Fiesta Bowl corruption or anything else for that matter.

His bullshit is so obvious even a blind person can see it..

Chuckle
Chuckle

your constituents, the people of your state, the people that voted you in, voted to legallize medical marijuana.  that should be end of story...

Pit Boss
Pit Boss

God bless you, Tom. You and your Republican pals can say that you effectively preserved family values in the state of Arizona by doing everything in your power to keep medicine out of sick people's hands.

Everyone who has a card should just start growing your own. Your electric bills will go up, but think of all of the medicine you won't have to pay for. All of the excess can be given to local medicine dealers. Those dealers can then gift you a new 1000 watt bulb to continue growing your medicine.

If the state wants out of the marijuana business we'll just create our own under the law as it's written.

J Curwen
J Curwen

Softer approach, my ass.

If Horne and Brewer hadn't been dishonest and disingenuous in the first place we'd be well along our way to having dispensaries. This is all fallout from their shenanigans, and they, Horne and Brewer are solely at fault.

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

Nonsense such as Governor Brewer and Mr. Horne have included in the bill of goods that they're trying to palm off on the public in order to promote their self serving political agenda is nothing new. It's actually still going on in parts of California where the Compassionate Use Act (CUA) is in its 15th year. Take a look at the mess that the Know Nothing local politicians have made of the medicinal cannabis retail distribution chain in San Diego.  The only way that the CUA has become so patient friendly is because we sued, sued, sued, and sued some more. It still hasn't gotten the law and order hypocrites to respect the law, and we're still suing. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) have been the primary force beating up the enemies of freedom in Court to establish the rights of medicinal cannabis patients under the protection of the CUA and the Medical Marijuana Program Act. (MMP or SB-420)

I can't even imagine how hardcore those clowns would be acting if it weren't for the string of jury nullifications over the last couple of years when Bonnie Dumanis was still fantasizing about putting patients and caregivers in jail.

Its a dictionary picture example of irony that finds the DOJ on the same side of the table with the ACLU and the medicinal cannabis patient protection advocates. I guess Ms. Brewer deserves some faint applause as I never would have thought it possible and she may well have rung the final bell for the hopes of the Know Nothing prohibitionists as a result. Not that they'd ever admit it; the enemies of freedom never have cared about reality, not even a little bit.

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Home

Loading...