In Arizona, a Battle Over Medical Marijuana
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In Arizona, a Battle Over Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on July 14, 2011 at 16:27:49 PT
By Amanda J. Crawford 
Source: Business Week
Arizona -- When entrepreneur Ian Christensen looks around the white-walled office he hopes to lease in Paradise Valley, Ariz., he sees opportunity. Now all he needs is some pot. Like hundreds of others here, Christensen has sunk tens of thousands of dollars into his plans to sell medical marijuana legally, which voters approved by referendum in November.He’s starting to wonder if he’ll ever open up shop. Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican who opposed the initiative, has found a new way to try to keep it from going into effect: She brought a suit in federal court in Phoenix asking a judge to decide whether the Arizona statute should be struck down because it violates federal antidrug laws. Brewer has said she is concerned that people who operate marijuana dispensaries and state workers who oversee the pot trade may be subject to federal prosecution.
The ruling could also affect California and 14 other states that allow marijuana for medicinal use. “They put the dispensaries out of business before we ever started,” says Christensen. Brewer maintains the lawsuit has nothing to do with her own feelings about legalizing medical pot. She has taken no position in the case, says her spokesman, Matthew Benson—she’s just looking out for Arizonans. Whatever her motivation, Brewer has delved into a murky area in the relationship between the states and the federal government. Selling and possessing pot is illegal under federal law, even for medical use. State medical marijuana laws have existed on questionable legal ground since California became the first to authorize it in 1996. The U.S. Justice Dept. has sent mixed signals. A 2009 Justice memo to U.S. attorneys said federal resources shouldn’t be spent prosecuting people complying with state medical marijuana laws. Late last month, however, after more states began implementing or considering commercial licensing programs for medical marijuana, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James M. Cole wrote in a memo to federal prosecutors that those who grow, sell, or distribute marijuana or “facilitate” those activities risk prosecution. Brewer accused the Justice Dept. of “continued confusion and doublespeak.”She isn’t the only governor seeking clarity. In April, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, asked the federal government for guidance when she was weighing whether to approve a licensing system in the state, which legalized medical marijuana in 1998. Washington’s U.S. attorneys responded that those who grew and distributed marijuana risked prosecution—as would anyone who facilitated those operations, including state employees. Gregoire vetoed the measure. Two weeks after Brewer filed her suit on May 27, New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, announced he would delay his state’s medical marijuana program until U.S. authorities clarify their position. The American Civil Liberties Union has asked the court to dismiss Brewer’s lawsuit. Among other arguments, the ACLU says states shouldn’t be able to challenge the legality of their own laws in federal court. “It will be a significant ruling that will affect how medical marijuana laws are implemented and how they may or may not be challenged in the future,” says Scott Michelman, an ACLU staff attorney. Would-be dispensary owners are suing in state court to force the governor to license their businesses.Meanwhile, a more casual medicinal marijuana market is taking hold in Arizona. Absent licensed dispensaries, the law lets approved patients grow or designate “caregivers” to grow up to 12 marijuana plants. Caregivers aren’t subject to the stringent state regulations that would govern dispensaries. More than 6,500 patients have received medical marijuana cards since the program began in April, according to state health department statistics, with 75 percent indicating they planned to grow their own.Ingrid Joiya, who says her company has invested nearly $250,000 to develop a chain of dispensaries with cashless vending machines, is working to revamp her plan using marijuana from caregivers. “We financially committed to these things, to put money in an economy in a state that desperately needs it,” she says. “It is a nightmare. … Voters voted on this, and the governor is trying to stop it under a ruse.” The bottom line: As more states move to regulate medical marijuana, the federal government must decide how stringently to enforce federal drug laws.Crawford is a reporter for Bloomberg News. Source: Business Week (US)Author: Amanda J. Crawford Published: July 14, 2011Copyright: 2011 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Contact: bwreader businessweek.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #20 posted by George Servantes on July 18, 2011 at 14:40:52 PT:
i agree with you and despise them. there is no conflict of opinions between us. they have no real power, if we stop playing their game they'll lose. yes we can blame rich and i blame them too, but we should also blame ourselves if we continue playing their game. gandhi and martin luther kind showed us that we poor and powerless can resist and stop playing their game.
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Comment #19 posted by runruff on July 18, 2011 at 10:43:11 PT
I strive for mediocrity.
This way I am seldom disappointed.
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Comment #18 posted by museman on July 18, 2011 at 10:09:49 PT
"we the people voted no to legalization of cannabis last year in our golden greedy state. who do we blame now? rich?"Well, once again it must be stated that cannabis was already LEGAL before the wealthy-backed government of the rich by the rich made it illegal. The fact that the schools, churches, media and every other institution managed and created by the government (of the rich by the rich) made patsies out of the people doesn't change the truth of the matter. Ignorance can be taught just as easy, actually much easier, as truth -particularly when people are taught to believe in falsehoods- comes hard in this false realty of false values."it's already legal in california for last 15 years"Legal? Wrong word there. It is not legal. I refer to my first quote of can't be legal if its not. Medicinal Cannabis is still illegal by federal edict, therefore its legality is far from established. Don't get me wrong, I agree with your feelings towards 
greedy people who take advantage of the needy to make a buck, but then I have to point at the pharmaceutical corporations and their record of deceptive practice -selling poisons and toxins as if they were medicines! For what motivation? Greed. Greed for what? Money. Who gets the money? The rich.The money goes to the rich. If you have any doubts about that, where did all the money go that was floating around just 4 years ago? To the rich, who have it now.This particular debate is about blame and fault. It is true that the people all share in that, including you and I. Every time we get in a car, bus, plane, or other transportation that is burning fossil fuel, we contribute to the destruction of our planet. The system is corrupt, and the corruption is systemic. The system is the Status Quo, and that was created, and designed by the rich, a long long time ago.The evidence is all around. Why would someone defend the right of the rich to rule unless they had some vested interest? The desire for possession and power is not entirely limited to only the rich, however it is their standards of value that CREATES the situation where greed and that kind of corrupt desire flourishes.Sharing of resource creates understanding of alternative where the practice of greed merely perpetuates itself. The source remains the rich, They hold it in their hands when it does not belong to them.The amount of money that you or anyone has does not dictate my actual, real value as a human being, far from it.But in the eyes of the rich government, I am a STRAWMAN, a statistical number representing my monetary worth to the banking system. That number is given to me by the government, without my informed consent. By the time I realized I'd signed up to the Devils Bargain, it was too late. Every square inch of this planet is mine to share, every resource, every fruit on every tree.It is ours to share, not hoard. The 'Right' to sell me what I was given as my natural human inheritance is bogus. It is not real. If it were than they wouldn't need armies to make me bow down to it. They wouldn't need LAW to force me to comply. There would simply be no reason.However there comes a point when you have led the horse to the water, and if it does not drink, you cannot force it to do so. There are many truths in the world being ignored -mostly for the same reasons; misplaced faith in mammon and no knowledge of Spirit. Its sad really. Reality is right there, all any one has to do is embrace it and understanding pours forth. We can go on and on focusing on nuances and semantics, finely nitpicking at pet opinions, but change only comes about through the desire for change. The world is deciding that they don't want the amerikan nightmare any more. People who aren't mesmerized by the glitz of hollywood reality know where true value lies. It exists with the joyous smile of a child, that comes from the giving of LOVE, not plastic toys. It exists within the embrace of true love. It exists in the beauty of nature (what hasn't been destroyed by the greed of the rich). It exists in the satisfaction of good works done well, not in the mediocrity of a mindless 'job' serving the systems of the rich masters.Yes the points are many, and there are some of us who can make every one, and more stick to the real point of where, who, and how this mess came about in the first place, who, why, and how it is perpetuated, but like the horse and the water everyone has their own mind. Truth only works for you when you don't continue to deny it. Works for me. I know without a doubt how it all got started, why it was started, who did it, and even when. But as I am getting old, I wish to reserve the whole of my knowledge for those who actually want to grow and learn. If I had nothing else do do with my time, I could compose some voluminous history, facts, and testimonies supporting every word I have said, yet like being in a court of 'law' the game is fixed. When truth is not recognized, no amount of it applied will change anything.Let us move on now, as the purpose of our being here on this forum is to educate, and share particular information having to do with cannabis. I have shared some of my knowledge concerning values, money, and greed, which by the argument it generated itself proves that the issues are integrally related, but as there is no agreement, the continuance of the disagreement is pointless. Objectivity is not opinion, it is witnessing the truth. Oh how I wish they taught cognitive, critical thinking somewhere in the world...George, you are doing your part, and I do not wish to take away from that. Further debate with me is a waste of both our time, You are welcome to your opinion, and I will continue to rage against the machine until I die, or it dies, either one.PeaceLEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #17 posted by George Servantes on July 18, 2011 at 08:20:45 PT:
we must be objective museman
The problem is not greed, its LAW! Law that is written to favor the rich, and the White Rich at that! The problem is not the price of pot, its the price of FREEDOM!
-----------quote-------------we the people voted no to legalization of cannabis last year in our golden greedy state. who do we blame now? rich?------------quote------------
You legalize it and all the REAL problems go away.
------------quote------------it's already legal in california for last 15 years but price is still enormous so many very poor who are unable to grow their own cannot afford their medicine so they are every day suffering. you seems to have your medicine, but try to imagine suffering in pain everyday without your medicine because everyone wants to get rich and they sell it at black market price even though it's legal for last 15 years, and they mostly grow it for quick profit and name their product like purple nightmare. what kind of medicine is called nightmare? poor people sell it also at enormous price ripping sick and suffering and they don't care if they can afford it or not.problem is human desire to be rich, so in process innocent suffer. we can't only blame rich or government.
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Comment #16 posted by museman on July 17, 2011 at 12:21:38 PT
runruff OT
Moonflower.A great read. Very enjoyable and entertaining -it ended too soon!
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Comment #15 posted by museman on July 17, 2011 at 12:18:04 PT
No,You're the best! I'm just a crotchety old man with some strong feelings on certain subjects...especially before coffee, and sometimes before 'legally' medicating.
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Comment #14 posted by runruff on July 17, 2011 at 10:55:22 PT
We can't all be rich...
This is a stupid concept! No one should be thinking in terms of being"rich" if that means holding on to vast resources and means that you do not need, cannot use but hold just for the holding!How about just everyone living with the abundance that is available to everyone in a sane society. We could live green productive abundant lives if we stop catering to the top 2% and and start living according to a "live and let live" society sans the grubbers."Make good use of the Indian hemp and sew it everywhere"-G.W.
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Comment #13 posted by museman on July 17, 2011 at 09:30:11 PT
"we can't all be rich, there's not enough resources"A rich mans excuse if I ever heard one.What kind of Republican mantra is that?There is an entire planet full of resource, which is being hoarded by a very small percentage of the population -which population happens to be the rulers of this planet, the makers of the Status Quo, the deciders of economic value and the architects of this current illusion of economic 'collapse.' -yes the effects are very real -to every one but the rich.To say that somehow its ok for the planet rapers and life stealers to have their stash of cash, above and beyond their actual needs, -and that there is 'not enough to go around' (lol) is either a very uninformed statement, or a worshiper of mammon defending their right to rule or the right of their masters -take your pick.True, there are many young "MJ entrepreneurs" out there taking advantage of the situation, and a few old doctors making easy money. The access to medical marijuana is a serious imbalance for many patients who do not live in the same rural areas where the herb is being grown -but that situation has nothing to do with who is making money, but who is making laws! The "Old Money" (UBER RICH) have never tolerated the threat of new money coming in and upsetting their game. Its one of the reasons why the Kennedys were always under the gun, and why two of them were assassinated.Of course a defender of the right-of-the-rich would not believe that I'm sure.As a medical patient, I have experienced firsthand the greed and error of priority that motivates many of these young growers. But my concern is not so much that they are making a few thousand dollars more than minimum wage would get them for their time, but that they put that foul taste of money and greed for it into the bud! I have changed providers 3 times in the past 3 years for that reason. Greed is a direct result of false belief in the value of money. Without the illusion of 'easy' associated with all things money..its easy to buy anything if you got the money, and in case no one noticed, the ones with the money don't have to do the work, they just 'pay' someone else to do it...greed has no logical reason to exist. Greed is the companion of wealth.A poor man will share what he has more often than a rich man, its a tested, proven fact. And a poor man is more likely to appreciate the true value of what he has than a rich man, or the rich man would not be so rich.I have traveled the globe, and seen what 'resource' there actually is. Without the interference of governments and corporations, most of the problems in the world would NOT BE THERE! Without the rich ruling the governments and corporations, there would be no impetus, justification, or false imperative reason to support such global imbalance and destruction.There is a reason why "Verily I say to you, that is is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle, than a rich man to enter into Heaven." is an undeniable truth.Without the false values of money and property, the false separation of social class and invented false perception of 'social value' would not exist. Equality would exist in more ways than just a line of crap given to wanna-be-patriots and heroes, so they'll 'fight the good fight' for their masters.- you know "We hold these truths to be self evident...blah blah blah." If those truths are so 'self evident' when will the EQUALITY get here? Not while the rich still rule, I guarantee it!Fortunately, their time is nearly at an end. They played their fake 'economic crash' card, and people are surely suffering, but Providence is not owned, it is shared. Anyone attempting to sell me my inheritance of this earth is a criminal of biblical proportion.The problem is not greed, its LAW! Law that is written to favor the rich, and the White Rich at that! The problem is not the price of pot, its the price of FREEDOM!You legalize it and all the REAL problems go away.
Cannabis existed just fine without people dying over it, wars being fought over it and such, before the rich mofos in government made it illegal!Can't blame the rich? Bullshit. LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on July 17, 2011 at 09:16:01 PT
Sinsemilla Jones
It is getting hot here now. Stay cool if you can.
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Comment #11 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on July 16, 2011 at 21:21:43 PT
Thanks, FoM!
If by nice, you mean ridiculously hot, and if by enjoying, you mean sweating a lot, I'm having a great time, ha, ha! Hope it's been slightly less oppressive up there.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on July 16, 2011 at 20:15:53 PT
Sinsemilla Jones
That's funny. I hope you and everyone are enjoying this nice summer.
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Comment #9 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on July 16, 2011 at 19:57:55 PT
Housing Bubble Hash
But it's tough to grow houses.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on July 16, 2011 at 16:14:44 PT
One More Comment
What could happen might be similar to the housing bubble. People made a lot of money flipping houses but probably created big debts too. I'm sure life isn't quite as good for them anymore.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on July 16, 2011 at 14:57:33 PT
I think that someday the price will really fall. Supply and demand will set the price when it is legal. When the market is flooded the price will drop very low and then it will be for everyone.
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Comment #6 posted by George Servantes on July 16, 2011 at 14:51:35 PT:
can't blame only rich when most are greedy
last time i checked in medical marijuana states even poor and struggling people were selling it at black market price, like it's still illegal.
behind so called compassionate medical marijuana acts are greedy recreational users who only want to get drugged and sell it at highest possible price. they use really sick to get it legal and then they continue selling it at the same price they did when it was illegal. so truly sick with their real doctors recommendation who can't grow and can't afford it now when it's legal: are left in dark, but they able bodied young man who got money can now legally use marijuana and get rich at the same time. There are even pot doctors now so they able bodied can get t heir rec for migraine or sleep problem. What a hypocrites they are.
poor want to be rich too, only problem we can't all be rich, there's no enough resources.
but real question is, why is it being sold so expensive like it's still illegal? i don't get it. other legal medicinal herbs you can buy at fraction of price, yet cannabis is much easier to grow. don't tell me about few rich because most everyone poor or rich or middle class or whatever is still selling it at price that most very sick can't afford. If we want it legal then we should treat it fairly now when it's legal, so it shouldn't coast more then other medicinal herbs or teas.
Most people want to be rich so we can't blame few who did succeed in a process. We the people are problem, most everyone is greedy whether be poor or rich it's no difference.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on July 16, 2011 at 10:37:02 PT
You're the best.
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Comment #4 posted by museman on July 16, 2011 at 09:42:17 PT
selling pot
Want some balance and fairness? Make an administrative rule that only people with an income of less than $40k a year can grow and sell pot. It seems that the real issue about money is who gets it, so if cleaning up our act involves real efforts at fairness, I think its a great place to start.Make welfare recipients grow pot and sell it -everyone seems to think its so easy to do, why not?If you keep the big money people out of it, other people beside the already rich get the benefit. Oh, that's right, only those who already have money and empowerment should be able to control the 'pot industry' right?Wouldn't want a bunch of hippies owning land, growing toxin-free food and feeding people (for free and such) educating children about reality, and learning true Spirituality!Nope, lets all go out and vote for those already in power -makes absolute sense to me -not!LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #3 posted by George Servantes on July 16, 2011 at 08:10:08 PT:
not to be one sided
if it's legal why growers and sellers charge so much like it's still illegal? we need to be fair and first clean our own yard before whining how we are so righteous. 
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Comment #2 posted by sammyd on July 15, 2011 at 05:08:46 PT:
That's a shocker
"She has taken no position in the case." Really? A politician isn't taking a position? All politicians and congress should be a voice of the people, but are instead puppets of rich lobbysists who don't care who they hurt.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 14, 2011 at 16:28:56 PT
I Agree With This Part
Excerpt: The bottom line: As more states move to regulate medical marijuana, the federal government must decide how stringently to enforce federal drug laws.
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