Arizona had passed medical marijuana bills in the past but has had them derailed by the state legislature.
This time around the canna business community drafted proposition 203 that authorizes medical use of marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions but heavily slanted to promote the canna business agenda.
The bill calls for approximately 120 dispensaries to serve the entire state.
No personal growing is permitted with-in 25 miles of any dispensary. The plan is to strategical-ly place the dispensaries to disallow private growing throughout the state.
Proposition 203, was thought to be a lost cause on election night trailing by nearly 7,000 votes. However, after provincial ballots and mail in ballots were counted, it passed by the slightest of margins, 4,341 out of more than 1.65 million total votes. Dispensary applications were scheduled to be accepted June 1, 2011.
In May, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke warned the department of health, the department charged with supervising the medical marijuana program, that complying with the Arizona statute will not shield them from federal prosecution. “The (Controlled Substances Act) may be vigor-ously enforced against large marijuana-production facilities………… This compliance with Arizona laws and regulations does not provide a safe harbor, nor immunity from federal prosecution” he wrote.
Upon becoming aware of the letter, Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer filed suit in federal court for a declaratory judgment regarding the States exposure to prosecution. The health department put the dispensary plans on hold but continued to issue medical cards to patients and care-givers.
As of June 15, 2011, the health department reports 5601 patient cards have been approved as well as 147 care-givers. Care-givers can assist 5 patients and grow up to 12 plants per patient. The permission is valid for the 1 year period of the card however, if at the time for renewal, a dispensary is located within 25 miles of the patient, no caregiver service is available and the patient must rely on dispensaries for their medicine.
The current state of events is that patients must either grow their own, get a caregiver or purchase from anoth-er patient. The last option seems to be a loop hole in the proposition the canna business did not anticipate.
Yours truly has chosen to grow my own and provide for a select number of patients. I have teamed up with two other caregivers and will share the expenses of providing for 9 or 10 patients total.
We can only recoup cost from our patients as the canna bill does not allow for profit except for the dispensaries. Although we can legally grow 120 plants, we will keep our number under 100 in an effort to keep the Feds away.