State Drops Charges Against DEA-Busted Operators of a Tempe Medical Marijuana Clinic
|James Chaney, in the mug shot taken by police after September's raid of the Arizona Go Green Co-Op.|
All charges have been dropped from September's high-profile bust by the Drug Enforcement Agency of a Tempe medical marijuana clinic.
The DEA arrested James Chaney and Rachel Beeder of Arizona Go Green Co-Op on September 29 following a morning raid on the clinic and Chaney's Phoenix home. About 60 or 70 pounds of marijuana and pot-infused edibles were seized, along with at least one price list for various strains of high-quality herb.
Despite all that apparent evidence, plus the word of DEA undercover agents who claim to have purchased marijuana at the clinic, Go Green's seemingly off the hook.
The DEA turned over prosecution of the case to the office of Tom Horne, state Attorney General.
But Horne, despite his previous legal action against the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, dropped the charges last month against Beeder and Chaney.
|Arizona Go Green's logo.|
Horne's office filed a motion on October 14, which was later granted, to dismiss the eight felony counts against the pair for alleged conspiracy, operating an illegal enterprise, sale of marijuana and possession of marijuana.
"The AG's office is not pursuing the case at this time," wrote Horne's spokeswoman, Amy Rezzonico, in an e-mail when we asked for comment.
No charges have been filed in federal court, either.
Arizona Go Green Co-Op, located in an office complex near Southern Avenue and Rural Road, is open for business. The doctor is in -- but they're not currently stocking medicine, James Chaney tells us.
"Our caregivers are taking care of that," he says, adding that the folks who may supply card-holding patients with medical marijuana operate independently of the clinic. Chaney says he hopes to open a "college" at the site by the first of the year, at which "free" medicine would be given away.
Sounds like Al Sobol's business model for the 2811 Club. But Sobol's place was raided by Phoenix police on October 12, so that might not be the safest route.
Then again, no charges have been filed as of yet in Sobol's case, Jerry Cobb of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office confirmed for us this week.
Nor were charges ever filed in two high-profile busts in June by Gilbert PD: Garry Ferguson and the Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group in Tempe, and the raid of a Gilbert patient's home over two ounces of weed.
So is medical marijuana winning the legal fight? Could be.
Prosecutors are in new territory when it comes to Arizona's medical pot law, which was approved in a narrow election just over a year ago. They're apparently being far more cautious than police -- or even the DEA.
Horne, however, is passing up pawns on his way to what he hopes is a checkmate. He's working diligently on a lawsuit against the pot law that was launched by his ally, Governor Jan Brewer. And he's still pressing for a declaratory judgment against compassion clubs, which he believes violate the Medical Marijuana Act.
At the least, the lack of convictions for accused medical-marijuana sellers seems to indicate some respect by government officials for the voter-approved law.