Legal Medical Marijuana passed in Arizona last November albeit a narrow margin, the people spoke. It’s nearly nine months later and you’d think a person that has received their state-approved medical marijuana card can find a safe, secure place that dispenses their medication by now right? Chaos, police raids on patients and “unofficial” pot clubs have been the result so far.
Says Ross Taylor whose home was raided in June by Police.
Taylor, owns CannaPatient, a company that helps patients obtain their state-issued medical marijuana cards. Police executed a search warrant on Taylor’s home after receiving a tip from a cable man. Taylor said the police weren’t interested in his medical marijuana card allowing him to grow a dozen marijuana plants and possess up to 2.5 ounces from a caregiver or dispensary. The police said they were only interested in those taking advantage of the law. This is just one of many incidences police have shown resistance to the new law.
Last month Gary Ferguson, founder of the organization, the Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group, police raided his offices in Tempe. Ferguson told reporters the way he understood the law, it allowed the sale of marijuana from one cardholder to another. The law doesn’t allow the sale of marijuana outside of non-profit dispensaries, but the state has yet to approve any such outlets to dispense it. Confused yet? You’re not alone!
Unofficial cannabis clubs, not mentioned in the law, are also emerging. They purport to offer free marijuana to cardholders, albeit for a membership fee. For now, they are unregulated.
Governor Jan Brewer a Republican who signed the law with reluctance calls it “the dreadful situation.” Current cardholders agree and some are hesitant to apply for cards in fear of being scrutinized by the police. The case will go before the same federal judge who found parts of Arizona’s immigration law to be unconstitutional. Brewer said the reason it’s going to court to protect state employees prosecution after Dennis K. Burke, the United States attorney for Arizona, sent a letter to state officials warning that the federal government still considered marijuana an illegal drug and would go after those who ran large marijuana production operations.
Allan Sobol, marketing manager for 2811 Club (which was named after the provision of the law allowing state-approved patients to share marijuana among themselves) has invited reporters & police officers in and offered instruction on the ins and outs of the new law. The 2811 club offers its members computers and books for researching strains in a comfortable environment. Members pay a $25 member’s fee to join. Every visit they “donate” around $75 which entitles them to around three grams of marijuana grown by other members.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of when you come in,” says Sobol. He is convinced the club is on solid, legal ground and plan on expanding throughout the Phoenix area soon. But the club does not comply with the strict regulatory requirements for dispensaries, which has prompted state officials to order an inquiry. Mr. Sobol said that given the uncertainty surrounding the program, he would be foolhardy not to look over his shoulder. “We have to be concerned,” he said. “I have lawyers on call.”
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