Judge Halts State Rule on Medical Marijuana to Help Planned Sun City Dispensary

Categories: Medical Weed

marijuana flowering.jpg
Image: Jamie Peachey

A county judge has put a halt to a state Department of Health Services rule that is preventing the approval of a would-be medical-marijuana dispensary.

White Mountain Health Center wants to open a dispensary in Sun City, but it can't get the county to acknowledge or reject its request for zoning information. A state DHS rule requires such information for its dispensary applications.

Today, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon put that state rule on hold for White Mountain, enjoining the state from rejecting the company's application for not complying with that rule.

Gordon's ruling is also something of a rude awakening for County Attorney Bill Montgomery, a conservative opponent of medical marijuana, and the Board of Supervisors.

In September of 2011, acting on advice from Montgomery, the five-member Board of Supervisors voted to disallow zoning for any marijuana dispensaries unless the plant is approved by the feds. The county refuses to set any zoning regulations for dispensaries, inspect any potential dispensary sites or even provide documentation acknowledging the dispensary's request. Montgomery told reporters just last month that if SB1070 is unconstitutional, so is the medical-marijuana law.

Without any zoning info, White Mountain had no way to complete its application, and the clock is running: The DHS is currently evaluating the applications it received and hold a drawing for the competitive districts on August 7. So, the company sued.

Gordon, unlike Montgomery or Governor Jan Brewer, is treating the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act like the state law that it is.

Gordon wrote in his ruling that he has "serious questions" about whether DHS director Will Humble or his agency have the legal authority to deny White Mountain's application based on the zoning rule.

Yet Gordon notes that it's the county causing this "incurable" deciency.

The county doesn't dispute that it has "categorically refused to examine whether Plaintiff's proposed site meets zoning requirements or if there are such requirements at all," Gordon wrote. "Thus, it will not provide any documentation. Without the documentation, Plaintiff cannot cure its deficient application."

The injunction against the state will apply until further court order.

Presumably, this means that when White Mountain's clinic gets approved by the state, it'll be rammed down the county's yaw, like it or not, and zoning be damned.

According to Humble's DHS blog, the state is finalizing the review process for 460 applications, out of the 486 it had originally received. Only three applications have been denied, and five were withdrawn. The other 18 applications are on temporary hold as the applicants attempt to comply with various rules, such as the one that encourages a dispensary company to have $150,000 in the bank.

Last week, Humble told New Times that several applicants were allowed some time to transfer the $150,000 from investment accounts to a bank in order to comply with the state's request. Having the money isn't a requirement, but companies that do have that much cash will be favored during the selection process, Humble says.

It seems likely that more lawsuits will crop up by the losers in this process, and Gordon's ruling implies that the state's rules might not be on solid ground.

In any case, Humble says that, in theory, one or more dispensary companies might meet all the requirements and be ready for a DHS inspection by late August, meaning that the state could see its first open dispensary as soon as September 1.

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DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Once the state asks the DEA for assistance in shutting down these would-be Continuing Criminal Enterprises, it will be GAME OVER!


Where the heck is “the LAW is the LAW, blah, blah, blah” crowd when authorities decide to break the law and violate their Oath? Up in the peanut gallery cheering that lawbreaking like the hypocritical partisan hacks that they are is where.


Since Bill Montgomery was wrong about the legality of SB1070 it is safe to say he's wrong about the legality of the medical pot law as well.


People like Bill aren't interested in laws that make things legal, you can't arrest, prosecute and incarcerate people with silly laws that legalize activities.  Too much of that an Bill would be out of a job.




Nice to see someone protecting the rule of law. Montgomery and Brewer are all for states rights and the rule of law until it threatens the profits of their corporate for profit prison masters.


DonkeyHotay, you owe the rest of us answers to the following questions:


#1. Why do you rejoice at the fact that we have all been stripped of our unalienable rights, leaving us totally subordinate to a corporatized, despotic government with a heavily armed and corrupt, militarized police force whose often deadly intrusions into our homes and lives are condoned by an equally corrupt and spineless judiciary?


#2. Why do you wish to continue to spend $50 billion a year to prosecute and cage your fellow citizens for choosing substances which are not more dangerous than those of which you yourself probably use and approve of, such as alcohol and tobacco?


#3. Do you honestly expect the rest of us to look on passively while you waste another trillion dollars on this ruinously expensive garbage policy?


#4. Why are you waging war on your own family, friends and neighbors?


#5. Why are you so complacent with the fact that our once 'proud and free' nation now has the largest percentage of it's citizenry incarcerated than any other on the entire planet?


#6. Why are you helping to fuel a budget crisis to the point of closing hospitals, schools and libraries?


#7. Why do you rejoice at wasting precious resources on prohibition related undercover work while rapists and murderers walk free, while additionally, many cases involving murder and rape do not even get taken to trial because law enforcement priorities are subverted by your beloved failed and dangerous policy?


#8. Why are you a supporter of the 'prison industrial complex' to the extent of endangering our nation's children?


#9. Will you graciously applaud when, due to your own incipient and authoritarian approach, even your own child is caged and raped?


* It is estimated that there are over 300,000 instances of prison rape a year. * 196,000 are estimated to happen to men in prison. * 123,000 are estimated to happen to men in county jail. * 40,000 are estimated to be committed against boys in either adult prisons or while in juvenile facilities or lock ups. * 5000 women are estimated to be raped in prison. 



 @Duncan20903 Hey Duncan,  you'll only hear those comments when it's something the Conservatards agree with.  Plus, you can't use facts or logic either one with them.  Their heads would explode.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter



1) Why do pro-pot retards like yourself BEG for GOVERNMENT REGULATION, RESTRICTION, TAXATION and CONTROL of your precious pot?


2) Why do pro-pot retards always change the subject from their "harmless pot that never killed anyone" to that of evil alcohol which harms, maims, destroys and kills 10s of THOUSANDS of people every year, thereby negatively conflating pot with evil and death in the public mind?


3) Why do pro-pot retards promote idiotic ballot initiatives, like A64 in Colorado, which again conflates and begs the GOVERNMENT to regulate "HARMLESS marijuana" **like** DEADLY Alcohol ?


4) Why do pro-pot retards put ABSURDLY LOW, dysfunctional, unsustainable limits on their own ballot initiatives, like A64's pathetic 1 (one) ounce and 3 (three) flowering plant limits?


5) Why is marijuana so harmful and dangerous that pro-pot retards would deliberately exclude and deny ANY LEGAL ACCESS to marijuana for 10s of thousands of ADULTS age 18-21 as Amendment 64 would do in Colorado?


6) Why are the pro-pot retards such inept self-defeating clowns?


Hint: Stupid Stoners are as Stupid Stoners do!




 @KevininPHX You're one funny guy. I am what you call a "conservatard" so thanks for your vote of confidence.


Someday look into the history of prohibition. You might notice that it was the work of liberals. Or did you think that FDR was a "conservatard"?


Is there any way we can move this beyond a 3rd grade level argument? You insult me, I insult you, everybody calls each other names and does that actually advance our lives?


It's time to grow up. Both sides.




 @DonkeyHotay Donkey in your handle makes absolutely PERFECT sense.  Your posts make it very clear, you are indeed. an Ass.


 @Duncan20903 I agree on the we all need to grow up part.  I get tired of being told, as a liberal, I'm destroying the entire world.

  I would say I am a bit surprised, I feel like I know my history pretty well.  It was the "Prohibition Party" and the WCTU (a "Christian" group, go figure). that pressed prohibition, and how it would save us from all kind of horrible-ness.  FDR actually signed the first law, after prohibition, legalizing the sale of "weak" beer and wine, again.  At the time it was instituted, it was less along party lines, and more about region, ethnicity and religion.

  Perhaps, if I have it all wrong, you can steer me to where i can find accurate info.

  And I agree.  I am striking the word "Conservatard" from my lexicon at this moment.  I have a feeling, I might bite my tongue off, though.  I'm trying, I really am.

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