Phoenix is home to more than 100 compassion clubs which require a membership fee or donation to join. Once you’ve paid the compassion club, you can receive “donated” medical marijuana.
So, instead of selling medical marijuana, the compassion clubs are “donating” it. This is a gray area, or loophole, in Arizona’s medical marijuana law. But this loophole is costing the state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries millions in sales each year.
It appears the Phoenix Police have made their decision on the legitimacy, or should we say, illegitimacy, of compassion clubs.
Phoenix Police raided another compassion club this week that is suspected of selling marijuana.
Owner of the Vapor Lounge Compassion Club, Bill Hayes, was arrested for illegally operating as an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary. Hayes is being charged with marijuana possession for sale, suspicion of controlling an illegal enterprise, and narcotics possession for sale, said Phoenix Police.
The Vapor Lounge was located in a strip mall, had no exterior signage, and was not licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services to distribute medical marijuana.
“We understand that this particular location was similar to a bar. Customers would come in and pay a donation,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Martos. According to Phoenix Police, customers gave donations to the Vapor Lounge Compassion Club in exchange for medical marijuana and/or edibles.