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FOCUS: Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Likely by Summer


Arizona Medical Marijuana Industry EmergingSTATE OF ARIZONA — Arizona medical marijuana dispensaries, which includes cultivation centers to bud by summer.

The first state-authorized medical marijuana dispensaries will likely open in Arizona this summer, according to Will Humble, director of the state Department of Health Services. Addressing Arizona viewers of KAET-TV Horizon news, Humble said his agency would be awarding the first licenses by mid-June.

"If someone was really ready to go - they had their business plan and everything ready - we could see some dispensaries in, say, mid-July, maybe early August," he said.

Maricopa County Superior Court Richard Gama, ruled that the state needs to start enforcing the 2010 Medical Marijuana Act as intended by its voters, but minus a few provisions the judge considered too restrictive as to undermine the spirit of the Law.

Early in January, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton threw out the governor’s lawsuit and Last Friday, Gov. Brewer confirmed that re-filing the case was no longer an option and the state Department of Health Services (DHS) can start processing dispensary applications once the Compassion First, LLC, case was resolved. .

Humble earlier said that his department’s rules to administer the medical marijuana program will need some adjustments since the old dates no longer apply. As an example, the rule provides that the department accept applications only within the month of June. Humble said changing that will require six months.

Judge Gama has effectively resolved the case with a summary judgment in favor of the Commission First, LLC. Along with the decision paving the way for the law’s implementation, Judge Gama nixed some provisions that dispensary applicants: (1) should be Arizona residents for three years prior to application; (2) have been filing personal income tax for the last three years; (3) have never figured in corporate or personal bankruptcy filing: and (4) have not been delinquent on tax payments, parking tickets, child support, student loans or in paying back any debt owed to the government.

Those rules have been cited as "onerous and substantively alter the requirements of the Act," according to Judge Gama in his minute entry. But in the same decision, Gama ruled in favor of provisions the Compassion First strongly opposed, stating that they help protect the state against theft and diversion of pot from its intended use.

These provisions are (1) that a person with 20% stake or more in the dispensary be the principal officer or board member of the dispensary; (2) that documentation exists to prove applicant’s ownership of or possession of permits to use property for dispensary use: and (3) the application must comply with the state law.

The CEO of Compassion First, Gerald Gaines, is confident his business will apply for dispensaries now that he won the case. A philanthropist among Sprint PCS founders, Gaines is moving forward with plans for three medical marijuana grow centers in Arizona, with the first to open in February.

Growth looks bright for Arizona in the billion-dollar marijuana industry market, ironically however federal authorities are still cracking down on dozens of dispensaries in Colorado and California.

Arizona Medical Marijuana Program 

For more information on Arizona Medical Marijuana Program visit: 
http://www.azdhs.gov/prop203/

Information on dispensary certificate and approval to operate applications visit: 
http://www.azdhs.gov/prop203/dispensaries/index.htm

Learn how to become a dispensary agent and the required documentation visit: 
http://www.azdhs.gov/prop203/agents/index.htm



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