Pubdate: Tue, 28 May 2013
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2013 The Arizona Republic
Author: Yvonne Wingett Sanchez


Added Time Sought to Get Facilities OK'd

Eleven Arizona non-profit corporations are suing the state, seeking 
additional time to open medical-marijuana dispensaries.

Last August, the state Department of Health Services randomly 
selected the non-profits to receive the dispensary-registration 
certificates required to operate dispensaries. Under state rules, 
each has one year to then qualify for a certificate to operate. They 
had a year to obtain "approval to operate" certificates or 
permanently lose the authorization to open a dispensary.

In a lawsuit filed last week in Maricopa County Superior Court, the 
groups are asking a judge to order state officials to give them more 
time to get up and running.

The groups argue that a separate lawsuit involving the White Mountain 
Health Center medical-marijuana dispensary had a "chilling effect" on 
other potential dispensary owners. That case centered on zoning 
documentation for the Sun City dispensary and grew to encompass a 
larger question of whether federal drug laws pre-empt the Arizona 
Medical Marijuana Act.

A Superior Court judge ruled in December that the state law is 
constitutional and that the county must make a zoning decision about 
White Mountain Health Center. County Attorney Bill Montgomery is 
awaiting a hearing before the Arizona Court of Appeals.

The groups also say they have encountered problems obtaining 
documents from city officials, who control zoning tied to the dispensaries.

Will Humble, director of Department of Health Services, told the 
Arizona Republic that he may give the 11 groups more time.

Paul Conant, an attorney representing the non-profit corporations, 
said his clients "are pleased to have an opportunity to try to 
resolve this amicably."

Since Arizona voters approved the medical-marijuana law in 2010, 
about 35,000 Arizonans have been approved to smoke or grow marijuana. 
Of that group, the overwhelming majority cite severe and chronic pain 
as a debilitating medical condition. Statewide, 21 dispensaries have opened.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom