By Mary K. Reinhart
The Arizona Republic
Arizona stepped deeper into the national legal quandary surrounding medical marijuana Tuesday with the selection of nearly 100 dispensaries throughout the state, some of which could begin selling the drug in a matter of weeks.
The tedious, four-hour bingo-style drawing in a state Department of Health Services auditorium came a day after Attorney General Tom Horne declared that the dispensaries violate federal drug laws and as Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery vowed to prosecute any that opened.
Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble said the voter-approved medical-marijuana law has been fraught with legal issues since before it became law in 2010. All he can do, he said, is implement the rules accurately and fairly.
“No one disputes that there’s a conflict between state and federal law when it comes to dispensaries, or the entire program for that matter,” Humble said. “But we’re going to do the very best job we can to put together as responsible a medical … marijuana program as we can.”
RLGR editor’s insert: Attorney Ryan Hurley, who represented about 20 dispensary applicants — four of who won drawings Tuesday — said other courts have ruled that state medical-marijuana laws don’t prevent federal officials from enforcing their own laws. Arizona is one of 17 states to allow medical marijuana.
RLG MMJ Chair Ryan Hurley to present on dispensary regulatory compliance at National Cannabis Industry Association’s inaugural Ariz. event Aug. 29.