Glendale Medical-Marijuana Dispensary Could be Open as Soon as Friday -- What Will Sheriff Arpaio Do?

Categories: Medical Weed

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Image: Phoenix New Times

A Glendale medical-marijuana dispensary will be inspected by state officials on Thursday, and is poised to be the first such establishment to open in Arizona.

If all goes well with the inspection process, which could take two or three inspectors up to six hours, the dispensary could open as soon as Friday.

A looming question is whether Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will try to prevent the dispensary from selling marijuana to some of Arizona's 33,601 qualified patients.

The Republican sheriff may feel compelled to try and stop the pot sales, given the staunch prohibitionist stance of his political ally, County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

See also: Bill Montgomery Declares War on Medical-Marijuana Law; Craves Arrests of Patients, Caregivers and Dispensary Operators

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery claims that voters can not authorize the opening of medical-marijuana dispensaries because of federal pot-prohibition laws.

Despite the fact that voters approved the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which makes it legal -- among other things -- for patients to grow marijuana and dispensaries to sell it, Montgomery claims anyone doing those things can still be prosecuted. Montgomery supports the federal government over state law on this issue even though he's on the losing side of history, judging by the revolutionary votes to legalize marijuana this month in Colorado and Washington.

Montgomery and state Attorney General Tom Horne are contesting the right of a company to open a dispensary in Sun City. That dispensary, the White Mountain Health Center, has sued the county in order to force it to provide the zoning information required by state dispensary rules.

Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon has yet to rule on a motion in that case filed by Montgomery and Horne. The right-wing prosecutors seek a ban on the sales and cultivation of medical marijuana.

The Glendale dispensary will evidently have a chance to open before the judge makes his ruling.

And that will put Montgomery and his enforcer, Arpaio, on the spot.

Now that Arpaio's safely into his sixth term he doesn't have to worry about antagonizing the voters who approved the medical-marijuana law, a healthy portion of which were his own supporters. Arpaio, with Montgomery's urging (and perhaps even encouraged by Horne and Governor Jan Brewer) might try to make a move on this Glendale dispensary before it sells its first bud.

The dispensary hasn't been named by the Arizona Department of Health Services, which is legally required to keep that information secret. However, it seems likely the dispensary company will make some sort of public announcement to the news media -- also known as free advertising.

Will Humble, director of the state DHS, says the Glendale dispensary made one of four requests for an inspection that has been received by the agency, and one of only two dispensaries for which inspections are scheduled.

A Tucson dispensary will be inspected on Tuesday, Humble says. The other two dispensaries that have requested inspections, both in Tucson, will need to correct deficiencies in their paperwork before the state will schedule inspections.

"I don't want to waste my staff's time," Humble says.

To sell pot in Arizona, dispensary operators will need more than a cell phone and a scale. A nine-page pre-inspection checklist can be found on the DHS web site. The inspection will ensure the dispensary has proper inventory-control processes, plans for documenting the transportation of marijuana, proper security and more.

Harmony Duport, the agency's chief of inspection and compliance, will make the final call on whether an inspected dispensary can open or not, Humble says.

The agency has categorized inspection requirements into critical and non-critical violations. Duport won't allow a dispensary to open if it has critical violations, such as no detailed system to track the inventory, but she might allow a dispensary to open with one or more non-critical violations that can be addressed later, such as the lack of a hand-washing sink.

If the inspectors at the Glendale dispensary report back to Duport on Thursday afternoon that everything looked good, she would likely authorize the dispensary to open immediately.

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DonkeyHotay topcommenter

"Medical" Marijuana is a FARCE and a SCAM !!


Bill Montgomery and his pot cop and prison industry gang want to protect the price of pot not the public.  Marijuana is the number one cash cow of these Reefer Revenue Racketeers. Marijuana is the only crime that actually brings in money for them and they don't want to give it up.

 Medical Marijuana was a deal with the Devil to sell our freedom back to us by the gram. Don't deal with the Devil, demand your Liberty from IT. 


This could really stretch the human resources at MCSO. This would mean MCSO would be having to enforce TWO violations of law at the same time, immigration and medical marijuana. I suppose it could be said that either of those violations is "non-victim" crime. That would make sense. The shurf doesn't seem to take "persons" crimes all that seriously.


Also, it occurs to me that there is a law enforcement agency of primary responsibility already in Glendale. It's called, ironically, the Glendale Police Department and as such, has the authority and responsibility to enforce local, state, and federal laws.


Maybe MCSO should concentrate on serving the citizens of unincorporated Maricopa County, for a change, and leave the real police work to real police agencies. Coincidentally, the Glendale Police Department has a chief executive who is a real police officer and actually AZ POST certified.



Ricky Hollywood
Ricky Hollywood

A little off topic, but doesn't it seem Joe lost interest in doing Immigration Dept work as soon as he was given the green light to proceed with it ? I haven't been seeing any headlines


A few recommendations for this dipensary: Make sure you have CCTV that is streamed off-site so the recordings are stored in an unknown location - so not removed by any MCSO raids or bad guys robbing the place. Have a lawyer on retainer, Pay all taxes and double-triple check MM cards and eligibility. Do not buy medicine from any free lancers.


Odd as it might sound I don't think Sheriff Joe Arpaio will do anything.  The arrest of medical marijuana patients or dispensary employees is not something that Arizona voters will cheer about especially as the patients and employees will be happy to talk to the TV camera afterwards (something most illegal aliens won't or can't do).  I know that Montgomery would love to indict a dispensary but I think he is also going to sit back and complain as the odds of him prevailing in a case are rather low.  Medical marijuana prohibition is slowly but surely coming to an end.


If there are no Mexicans there he won't do anything.


 @Tommy_Collins Federal laws are enforced by federal agents but the these agents can be recruited from local law enforcement..



 Only if the business in question is owned by a Maricopa County Republican, Thane. Let's not forget party affiliation is a determinant criteria in prosecution in Maricopa County.


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