Today I was served with a lawsuit that challenges the State (and the Department) for not implementing the dispensary portion of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The case, filed in the AZ Court of Appeals, asks a judge to order us to follow the rules that we published on April 14 and begin accepting dispensary applications.
We worked very hard to implement the law until we received a letter from the U.S. Attorney in Arizona. That letter, dated May 2, states the Department of Justice will: “…continue to vigorously prosecute individuals and organizations that participate in activity…involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law.” “Individuals and organizations…that knowingly facilitate the actions of traffickers should also know that compliance with AMMA will not protect them from federal prosecution….”
With that information, the Governor and I (with the advice of attorneys) decided not to continue with full implementation of the Act until we receive clarification about whether it’s legal from the federal court. We’ve suspended the implementation of dispensary portions of the law and aren’t currently accepting any applications. As of today, we’ve had three groups try to apply for a dispensary certificate and we’ve turned them away.
We began accepting and processing applications for Qualifying Patients and Designated Caregivers several weeks ago and we’re still accepting and processing these applications. As of June 9th, we’ve approved more than 5,000 Patient and 126 Caregiver cards.