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Arizona Marijuana Dispensaries Face More Problems After Letter

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The medical-marijuana-dispensary industry faces more hurdles and delays following a "clarification" by the U.S. Justice Department, industry reps say.

The letter by Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole, which dizzily seems to give protection to marijuana patients while threatening the businesses that serve them, was sent to U.S. Attorneys in all 50 states.

"It sent a message that reverberated across the nation," says Vincent Palazzotto, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of America. "It scares patients. They don't want to be in a place that gets raided."

Locally, the letter will affect the thousands of Arizonans who are registered in the state's new medical-marijuana program, and also the people who've made investments in the dispensary industry, Palazzotto says.

Allan Sobol, a local medical marijuana marketer and consultant, wrote in an e-mail blast last night that:

...it appears that Dispensaries and their ancillary cultivation facilities may be doomed. Please find attached the compete text of the letter. Unless congress steps in and changes the status of Marijuana under the Controlled substance Act, opening a dispensary could be daring act.

He's apparently still planning to help with the opening of a new, for-profit club this weekend in which card-holding patients can obtain "free" medical marijuana, which is still legal under state law.

Another dispensary expert we quoted in our February feature story on the medical-marijuana industry, Patric Allan, says a new type of distribution industry will rise out of the smaller-scale cooperatives and clubs, just as it did in California.

The sad part, Allan says, is that delaying a more robust dispensary system means that Arizonans won't play a major role in the development of the non-intoxicating marijuana products that are becoming more popular in California.

Another way to look at it: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's decision to halt dispensary applications, combined with Cole's new letter, damages the medicinal, more-regulated aspect of the state's voter-approved law more than anything else.


News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com
Author: Ray Stern
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Phoenix New Times, LLC.
Website: Arizona Marijuana Dispensaries Face More Problems After Letter by Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole, Industry Reps Say


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Makes me curious about the caregivers and how this will impact those that are willing to grow for others that can not grow due to zoning restrictions. As a fellow Arizonian I can only hope for is a swift resolution (I know that's a false hope), so I will not have to worry when I apply for my caregivers license. Love how 420 stays current on info that impacts our great nation in a variety of ways. Stay green 420.

Son of Stimpy

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This letter is consistent with the ongoing stance of the Obama administration: It's OK to be a medical cannabis patient, so long as you don't grow it yourself, no one else grows it, and no one sells it to you. The position is confusing only so long as you entertain the absurd notion that either Jan Brewer or the Obama administration have any intention of obeying the Constitution or the rule of law.

It's that criminally cynical Catch-22 that Allan Sobol is addressing with his "free marijuana" idea.

The people of Arizona have spoken. Obama's and Brewer's response is "So what? Do you think we care? And where did you get the notion that the USA is a democratic republic? You are little people. Your will means nothing. The law means nothing. Our power means everything." In other words, their response is a raised middle finger - directed at the people and at the Constitution.

But there is still recourse. The 10th Amendment gives the federal government no right to override state laws over which the Constitution does not give it explicit authority to enforce. Here's the 10th Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The power to make cannabis illegal is not delegated to the United States. It is up to the states to decide.


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@ Son of Stimpy,

Bond v. United States : SCOTUSblog

Holding: A criminal defendant who is indicted on charges that she violated a federal statute has standing to challenge the validity of the statute on the ground that it infringes on the powers reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment.

Judgment: Reversed and remanded to Third Circuit, 9-0, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy on June 16, 2011. Justice Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion, which was joined by Justice Breyer.



Son of Stimpy

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Thanks for the link to the SCOTUS blog!

(Background for interested readers: Carol Anne Bond's husband got her best friend pregnant(!). She retaliated by putting caustic chemicals in her former friend's mailbox, car door handles, etc. Instead of being charged with assault or attempted manslaughter, as one would expect, Bond was charged by the feds under international treaties banning the use of chemical weapons! (The treaties were ratified by the US government and are therefore just as binding as any law made in the US.)

Bond's defense was that the federal government overstepped its bounds, violating the Tenth Amendment. The District Court said OK, then the appeals court ruled against her, saying she had no standing to bring the case, but last week the Supreme Court ruled that she does have standing.)

It's very encouraging to see a 9-0 Supreme Court ruling that says Carole Ann Bond has standing. It's also surprising to me because the Article 2 of the Constitution does delegate to the federal government the power to ratify international treaties, and as far as I know, no states have laws that contradict the treaties banning the use of chemical weapons, so there's no issue of federal law trumping state law.

I would have guessed that the 10th Amendment didn't really apply in Bond. If one can challenge federal prosecution even when it's not a case of the feds stepping on states' rights, then couldn't one challenge virtually any federal law on 10th Amendment grounds? That seems like much too broad a reading of the 10th Amendment. I must be missing something.

The medical marijuana situation strikes me as more clearly a 10th Amendment issue: First, in contrast to the case of treaties, there's nothing in the Constitution (that I can see) that comes close to delegating the power to outlaw cannabis use to the federal government; and second, states do have medical marijuana laws that contradict federal law, so it would seem that under the 10th Amendment, the states win, and the feds should quit screwing with them.

Maybe we should ask former constitutional law professor, Barack Obama.


New Member
This is another example of the the goverment stopping any kind of hemp growing. The oil and pharmasuedical companies know that there is a better and cheaper way to help people and are doing evrything possible to stop hemps legalization. But us hemp supporters are not going away and we will prevail. Spread the word and educate the people who don't know the true facts about hemp. Hemp can save the planet,people,and the economy so lets keep up the fight and win this war on our rights and freedoms.
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