As the lead attorney for White Mountain Health Center, a dispensary to be located in Sun City, Arizona, I am overjoyed to be able to write this article and confirm that Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon has ruled that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is valid, enforceable and not preempted by federal law! This is welcome news for all medical marijuana patients, caregivers and professionals in the State of Arizona and elsewhere. Even though we expect Defendants Maricopa County (Bill Montgomery, County Attorney) and the State of Arizona (Tom Horne, Attorney General) to appeal Judge Gordon’s ruling, I believe that a considerable number of dispensaries will open in the very near future.
Judge Gordon rejected all of the government’s arguments that the AMMA and the Federal Controlled Substances Act cannot co-exist. Even though the feds can enforce the CSA, if they choose to do so, the federal government, at least in my opinion, has not prosecuted people who are in full compliance with state medical marijuana laws. Despite rumors to the contrary, every prosecution that I know of in medical marijuana states involves conduct that violated state law, as well as the CSA. For example, some dispensaries in California were shut down because they failed to obtain building permits and some collectives and others simple had more plants than allowed by state law.
Kudos to Judge Gordon for specifically ruling that: “Thus in the final analysis, the Court finds that federal law does not preempt the AMMA. In so doing, the Court notes that Arizona, if it had wished to do so, could have fully decriminalized the possession, use and sale of marijuana under State law. In its wisdom Arizona [obviously referring to our voters and not to our elected officials] took a far narrower and deliberative course opting to allow only the chronically ill access to it and only after a licensed physician certified that it might well relieve its citizens of suffering.”
I realize that the White Mountain v. County of Maricopa decision hastens the day when many, if not most caregivers’ and patient’s ability to grow their own medicine will probably come to an end. Skilled edible, medible, tincture and other crafters of these great products face similar restrictions in the near future. I don’t know if there is a way to accommodate the desires of every caregiver, patient and mmj professional under the current law which favors dispensaries, but I welcome the continuing opportunity to be able to work on these issues, as well as to continue to advise dispensary certificate holders, caregivers, patients and other professionals. This would not have been possible without Judge Gordon holding that the AMMA is not preempted by federal law.
The text of Judge Gordon’s December 4, 2012 decision is available on my website, www.jeffkaufmanlaw.com. Click on the “Resources” tab. Then click again under the heading Medical Marijuana News.
Always put your agreements in writing and please carry your card.
JEFFREY S. KAUFMAN, LTD.
Attorney at Law
5725 North Scottsdale Road, Suite 190
Scottsdale, Arizona 85250
(480) 994-8129 (fax)