Pro-Pot Activist Billy Hayes Faces Serious Prison Time but Doesn't Know When to Quit

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Andrew Pielage
Billy Hayes
Billy Benjamin Hayes Jr., 39, is one of the state's most vocal marijuana activists.

Few people welcomed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act when voters passed it in 2010 more than Hayes. The lanky father of three is a marijuana enthusiast, a grower for nearly his whole life who imbibes regularly, whether by smoking, vaporizing, or eating.

His name often is seen in Internet forums of the Arizona Department of Health Services, the agency that oversees the medical-marijuana program. Having learned just enough law to be dangerous during an eight-month stint in prison on a marijuana-possession violation, he's sued the federal government (unsuccessfully) over the law's 
"25-mile rule," which limits where patients can grow marijuana, and helps his pro bono pot-activist lawyer, Tom Dean, write court motions.

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A Convicted Thief and a Chiropractor Claim Their Pot Company Medbox Isn't a One-Hit Wonder

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Peter Bollinger

At BC Wellness Center, a small retail shop in Black Canyon City, two black vending machines sit side by side behind a counter, where they can be accessed only by employees.

Instead of Famous Amos cookies or soda pop, packets of buds and various cannabis-infused edibles and juices sit tucked into the rows of dispensing trays.

The machines are the flagship product of Medbox, one of the hottest companies in the burgeoning industry of legal marijuana.

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Smoking Concentrated Marijuana, Known as Dabbing, Is All the Rage

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Ray Stern
A gram of butane- extracted marijuana concentrate.
Smoking concentrated marijuana oil is exploding in popularity, with many cases nationwide of amateur chemists experiencing explosions in their homes. Manufacturing and use of the substance comes with risks not seen with "normal" pot: Scorched skin when using the red-hot smoking apparatus is inevitable, aficionados say.

Longtime marijuana advocates and High Times magazine have expressed concern, noting that contaminants in the product are hazardous and that some smokers — especially novices — may pass out after taking a hit.

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Comcast Allows Marijuana Ad, Making "Mainstream" TV History

Categories: Marijuana Biz

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A humorous TV ad featuring a back-alley sushi dealer is getting called the first commercial promoting marijuana ever to run on "mainstream" television.

Cable mega-company Comcast signed a deal with MarijuanaDoctors.com to start airing the ad for two weeks in New Jersey on Fox, CNN, A&E, and other cable networks. It's expected to run in other markets, including Chicago, after that.

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Five Things Arizonans Should Know About Colorado Marijuana Stores Opening Wednesday

Categories: Marijuana Biz

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On Wednesday, Colorado will make U.S. history when the country's first retail marijuana stores open to all adults 21 and over.

Colorado is connected to Arizona at the famed Four Corners Monument. If you already like its wonderful, camping, mountain fun, hiking, and hunting, you now have another good reason to visit Arizona's neighbor.

Here are five things Arizonans should know if they plan to indulge while there:

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Earth to Phoenix Pot Dealers: Selling "Medical Marijuana" on Craigslist Not the Greatest Idea

Categories: Marijuana Biz
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weedsmokersguide.com
Despite the fact that Arizona has a medical-marijuana law, that law does not turn a neighborhood weed dealer into a bona fide medical-marijuana salesman.

This apparently comes as news to several Phoenix residents, as a New Times review of superior court filings shows that police have busted several dealers over the last few weeks, and were discovered by police because they offered "medical marijuana" for sale on Craigslist.

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Medical-Marijuana Dispensary Won't Trigger 25-Mile Cultivation Ban Just Yet, DHS Decides; Arizona Organix is Approved, but Not Open

Categories: Marijuana Biz

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Image: www.weedsthatplease.com
New medical-marijuana patients in Arizona can still obtain the privilege to grow 12 of these, at least for a little while longer.

No need to put away the fluorescent bulbs just yet:

It turns out that Arizona first state-authorized medical-marijuana dispensary won't trigger a ban on patient and caregiver grow-rooms, at least in the short term.

The state Department of Health Services has granted a "short delay in the effective date for their Operating License in order to ensure that things run smoothly when they officially begin operations," writes DHS Director Will Humble this afternoon in his blog.

The length of the delay wasn't specified, but for now, new and renewing patients filing applications with the state to legally possess marijuana will still be allowed growing privileges.

The approval of Arizona Organix by state Department of Health Services inspectors on Thursday meant the dispensary could immediately begin selling marijuana to qualified patients under the state's 2010 medical-pot law. As Humble reminded the public last week, the voter-approved law prohibits patients and caregivers from growing weed if a dispensary is within 25 miles.

"Beginning tomorrow we'll be declining new 'requests to cultivate' among new cardholders in most of the metro area..." Humble wrote on November 15. Existing patients with grow rights who were within the exclusion zone would be able to keep the lights on until their annual registration cards came up for renewal.

The "25-mile rule" in the law was meant to ease the concerns of some members of the public who fear the proliferation of small, indoor pot farms.

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Medical-Marijuana Dispensary Sues Fountain Hills Over Competitors' Distance From "Church" Run by Pot Marketer Al Sobol

Categories: Marijuana Biz

See also: Medical Marijuana Compassion Club Raid by Phoenix Police Leaps Ahead of Court Case on Legality of Clubs

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Image: Al Sobol
The "Reverend" Al Sobol, who's better known as a medical-marijuana marketer, is seen here at his small church in Fountain Hills.

Nature's Healing Center, a would-be medical-marijuana dispensary, is suing the Town of Fountain Hills over its competitors' distance from a church run by the "Reverend" Al Sobol.

That's the same Al Sobol who's been a prominent and vocal voice of the medical-marijuana community since the 2010 passage of Proposition 203.

Sobol oversees a school that helps people obtain marijuana-dispensary licenses. And, according to a Fountain Hills planner's March 17 letter to Sobol, his "representative" is Dr. Bruce Bedrick, the former CEO of Nature's Healing Center.

Both Sobol and Bedrick, also the founder and CEO of medical-marijuana consulting firm Kind Clinics, deny they have -- or ever had -- a business connection.


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Arizona Medical-Marijuana Dispensary Applications Trickle In; 15 Submitted on First Day

Categories: Marijuana Biz

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Photo Illustration: Phoenix New Times
The state opened the door for medical-marijuana dispensary applications yesterday, receiving 15 by the end of the day.

Hopeful pot-shop owners will have until 5 p.m. on May 25 to submit the applications. Besides paying a $5,000 application fee, weed-trepeneurs must include a business plan and details on how they'll control their inventory. See the state Department of Health Services checklist for applications by clicking here.

Under Arizona law, the stores will be able to grow and sell marijuana legally for a growing population of qualified patients, now topping 28,000. After the close of the application process, DHS will evaluate the submissions and make their approvals or denials. Some stores are expected to open by late summer, offering patients a wide range of cannabis strains, pot-infused foods, tinctures and other concentrates.


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Marijuana Dispensary Loan for $500,000 Doesn't Need to be Paid Back, Judge Rules, Because Pot is Illegal Under Federal Law

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Image: Jamie Peachey
A $500,000 loan to a Colorado company intended for a medical-marijuana facility doesn't have to be paid back because pot is illegal under federal law, a county judge has ruled.

The bombshell ruling, (tip of the hat to lawyer Richard Keyt's medical-marijuana blog), has major implications for the budding dispensary industry in Arizona. Applications for dispensaries are set to be accepted this month, and state-authorized, medical-pot retail and grow centers are expected to open by late summer.

Although this isn't a precedent-setting ruling that other judges must consider, the basic concept of the April 17 ruling is a wake-up call for lenders and investors.

As Keyt wrote in his blog, if this goes to an appeals court and is upheld, "any contract that has a purpose related to Arizona medical marijuana may be unenforceable and not worth the paper it is written on!"

In reading the ruling by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael McVey, it's easy to see how Keyt came to that conclusion.


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