Medical Pot Offices in Arizona Stand Empty after Brewer Filed a Lawsuit against Feds

Medical Pot Offices in Arizona Stand Empty after Brewer Filed a Lawsuit against Feds

7/23/2011

 

When Ian Christensen, a self-described serial entrepreneur, looked around the white walls of the medical office he intends to lease in Paradise Valley in Arizona, he saw opportunity. Now, the only thing that he needs is some pot.

Just like hundreds of many other would-be pot moguls, Christensen wooed investors, hired lawyers, negotiated leases, overcame zoning hurdles, bought equipment and invested tens of thousands of dollars to lead the way for an industry that Arizona voters created through a referendum in November.

However, Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican who is against the initiative, filed a case against the federal government, as well as would-be dispensary operators in a lawsuit that could have an impact in California and 14 other U.S. states that allowed medical pot.

The governor wanted a Phoenix federal judge to decide whether Arizona can implement the law without subjecting its workers to the risk of facing federal charges, or whether U.S. law defeated the statute entirely.

Christensen, while touring his would-be office, said, “They put the dispensaries out of business before we ever started.” He added that they only wanted to stimulate the local economy.

Like other supporters of the initiative, he mentioned the financial boost and employment that the new industry could bring to the state, whose unemployment rate continued to be above 9% for over two years now.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, one of the defendants in the lawsuit filed by Brewer, has estimated that the medical marijuana industry would generate up to $700 million every year. This was revealed by Joe Yuhas, a spokesman for the organization.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com