Rules for Medical-Marijuana Dispensaries Targeted by Lawsuit

Rules for Medical-Marijuana Dispensaries Targeted by Lawsuit

9/8/2011

 

As if medical-marijuana was not being litigated enough in the state of Arizona, another lawsuit is taking aim at the rules that govern medical-marijuana dispensaries.

The special action suit, one among the six lawsuits filed against the fledgling program of the state, claim that the rules give unjust advantage to local businesses in violation of existing federal laws, as well as the state and federal constitutions.

Gerald Gaines, the CEO of the for-profit Compassion First AZ, had expected to watch over a series of dispensaries being operated by “affiliate” managers who applied for dispensary permits. However, a number of those managers failed to meet the criteria because they have not been residing in Arizona for three years, they were not able to file three years’ worth of state income taxes, and in one case, has filed personal bankruptcy over 25 years ago.

Furthermore, the rules, according to the lawsuit, discriminate against new residents and non-residents, benefit only current property owners and are in violation of federal bankruptcy laws by holding previous financial problems indefinitely over someone’s head. The suit was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court last month.

Gaines said, “The rules are a mess. It’s hard to believe that someone was making a legitimate effort to write rules that would make the system work.”

State health officials said that they could not provide comments on issues that have pending litigation. However, the state Attorney General’s Office has moved for the dismissal of the care, or at least hold it for the time being, pending the outcome of a federal lawsuit that was filed by the state last May. Otherwise, marijuana lawsuits could swamp and overwhelm the courts.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com