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Editorial: State forcing gamble on medical marijuana
8/7/2012 6:15:00 PM
If all the threats pre-election and post-election have not been enough, the sight of lottery balls being plucked out of the Atom Action Bubble Top Bingo Blower was a convincing sign to medical marijuana proponents that they are taking a gamble.
In fact, the mixed signals they continue to get from government officials are forcing the whole process into a real dice game.
There could be legal and financial repercussions for those trying to make use of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
Law enforcement hates this law. The arguments they made against the act before the voters went ahead approved it are the same arguments they are making now.
Going full steam ahead, however, the Arizona Department of Health Services has a helpful and detailed webpage for those interested or involved in medical marijuana. Need a card? Want to become a dispensary? Want to prescribe MMJ? The ADHS will tell you how.
At the same time Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne not only issued a formal opinion about the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act but has also gone a step beyond. While telling the health department to go ahead with Tuesday's lottery drawing for dispensary applications and assuring medical marijuana card-holders that they will have no legal problems, he wants to go to court to ask the judges if the law passed by voters is actually legal.
The state is telling applicants, go ahead and try to set up a business but you could be losing a lot of money for nothing. Sure, go ahead and throw those dice.
Proponents of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act tried to write in every remedy to every legal problem that occurred in other states that legalized MMJ. That includes not allowing local governments to override the state law. It also includes a disconcerting confidentiality clause that keeps dispensary applications private. While these "fixes" do fix some loopholes, they also create other problems.
Even without Horne proactively challenging the law, elements of the law itself could be its undoing. That could undo all the work the dispensary applicants have put in. And that makes it all a big gamble.
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