Medical Marijuana Supporters To Rally At Arizona Capitol June 20

June 16, 2011

John Guzzon, Modern Times Magazine

A rally is planned for 11 a.m., Monday, June 20 on the west side of the Arizona capitol in Phoenix for those wanting to voice their displeasure over the state’s halt of the voter-passed medical marijuana program.The rally is being spearheaded by Americans For Safe Access, or ASA, the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

“Stand in solidarity with patients, activists and concerned citizens of Arizona. Gov. Jan Brewer is seeking a declaratory judgment against medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona. This is an attack on a patient's right to safe access. Today she is focused on dispensaries; tomorrow, who knows what she will go after,” according to the flyer released by the ASA, which can be read here. “There have been over 4,000 cards issued already in Arizona — we need you to come out if you can and show Gov. Brewer that she needs to care for the rights of all of her citizens, especially the seriously ill ones.”

Arizona’s Medical Marijuana law passed by several hundred votes in November 2010. The Arizona Department of Health Services, or DHS, proceeded according to the mandates set out in the initiative by holding public comment sessions in February and began issuing medical marijuana patient and caregiver cards on April 14. The DHS was set to begin accepting applications from would-be dispensary owners June 1 but Gov. Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne asked a federal court for a declaratory judgment regarding the legality of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The DHS then suspended the acceptance of dispensary applications until the matter can be settled in the court system.

On June 14, a slew of would-be dispensary owners, including the newly formed Protect Arizona Patients Coalition, filed a suit with the Arizona Court of Appeals and with Maricopa County Superior Court that the plaintiffs hope will force the DHS to begin accepting applications and fully implement the program.

“We believe that the Court of Appeals is the proper forum for this special action to be heard. Full implementation of the (Arizona Medical Marijuana Act) involves state employees confronted with an issue of statewide importance,” said David Dow of the Law Offices of David Dow, PLLC, according to the Protect Arizona Patients Coalition website.

It is alleged in the complaint that DHS Director Will Humble has been coerced into going along with the suit by Brewer, Horne and activists angered that they lost at the polls in November, 2010, and that they had been seeking Humble’s acquiescence on a declaratory judgment almost as soon as it passed.

According to the complaint, the evidence is a Feb. 16 e-mail from Carolyn Short, the chairwoman of Keep AZ Drug Free to Humble, which, according to the complaint, read, “If I don't hear from you, I will assume that you did in fact instruct Tom Horne not to seek declaratory relief. We then will advise your employees of your stance on the matter and the risks associated with implementing this program."

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