Glendale Medical-Marijuana Dispensary Could be Open as Soon as Friday -- What Will Sheriff Arpaio Do?
For the first time since the medical-pot law was approved in November of 2010, patients would be able to buy their medicine from a state-authorized pot store.
Unless Arpaio puts on a "Joe Show" for his right-wing followers.
We know this is probably too much to hope for, but wouldn't it be neat if Arpaio tells his deputies to shut down the dispensary -- and state troopers, who might be interested in enforcing state law, try to stop the deputies? How the Taser darts might fly!
Under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, dispensaries are supposed to be not-for-profit businesses.
Okay, back to reality. Let's assume instead that the dispensary opens and begins selling to patients with no more hold-ups. What could patients buy?
At first, the store will likely be stocked with numerous strains of indica and sativa from which to choose. They may even have smokable hashish or the powdered concentrate called kief.
Qualified patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces at any given time; that's also the maximum amount they could buy from a dispensary, which will track the purchase to make sure the patients aren't going over the statutory limit. For marijuana concentrates, the limit is decided by how much pot went into the making of the concentrated form. For instance, patients could buy only as much hashish at one time as can be made from 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
Edible marijuana products won't likely be sold immediately by the dispensaries, Humble says. Those items are considered food, and the state has a separate list of protocols that must be followed for food sales. The state DHS will inspect those food-making facilities in most cases, Humble says.
The opening of a dispensary will also trigger part of the state law that prohibits patients or caregivers from growing marijuana within a 25-mile radius of the store. A 25-mile radius around Glendale covers pretty much the whole Valley.
Most of the state's patients are currently authorized to grow pot, since no dispensaries are yet open. Those within the 25-mile radius of a dispensary will be notified by letter or e-mail of the dispensary's opening. They'll still be able to grow marijuana under state law until their cards come up from renewal, Humble says.
If the Glendale dispensary opens on Friday, then no new or renewing patients who live within 25 miles of the store will be allowed to grow marijuana.
Unless Judge Gordon puts the kibosh on the dispensary program, the opening of a couple of these stores could spur dozens of others to do the same. Ninety-seven applicants were selected at random by the state back in August, but they've been hesitant to move forward with a store because of the disrespect that Arizona's Republican leaders have shown to the state law.
Of the 97, about 40 or 50 of the would-be dispensary companies have sent the state "agent cards" with the fingerprints and FBI clearance reports for the owners and employees. Those companies are allowed to build out their store locations, but can't open until they've requested -- and passed -- a state inspection.
The several-dozen companies which haven't submitted their agent cards ought to consider getting their butts off the couch. Humble warns that, under state rules, any would-be dispensary picked in the random lottery that isn't up and running by August 7, 2013, will be permanently banned from applying again.
Check back for an update tomorrow.