Skip to main content

Arizona AG Files Suit Against Medical Marijuana Clubs

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #696)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne filed a lawsuit Monday asking a state court to close down "compassion clubs" where medical marijuana patients pay a fee to become members and in return obtain their medicine. The civil suit seeks both a temporary and a permanent injunction to shut them down.

Although some 6,000 Arizonans are registered as medical marijuana patients under the voter-approved law, no dispensaries are operating because state officials have put that portion of the law on hold while Gov. Jan Brewer's federal lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment on the legality of the dispensary language moves forward. Lawyers for the US government last week filed a motion to have that suit dismissed.

The compassion clubs sprung up as a response to pent up patient demand. Now, Horne wants to shut down that distribution avenue, too.

The clubs "falsely claim to be operating lawfully under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act," Horne said in a press release Monday. The law does not provide protection to entities that are not registered as nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, he argued.

"The law permits one card holder to give marijuana to another card holder. But is does not permit the activities of these defendants, who charge fees to members. These private entities and individuals are in no way permitted to legally transfer marijuana to anybody," Horne said. "The operators of these clubs claim that they are protected under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act when they are not registered as non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries as required under that law. These people are marketing themselves as being able to lawfully transfer marijuana, and that type of deception and blatantly illegal activity must be stopped."

But what the law says is that registered patients face no penalties for "...offering or providing marijuana to a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver for the registered qualifying patient's medical use... if nothing of value is transferred in return and the person giving the marijuana does not knowingly cause the recipient to possess more than the allowable amount of marijuana."

The clubs operate by charging qualified patients a token membership fee, which then allows patients to make donations and obtain marijuana that is "gifted" by other members of the club. Whether the Maricopa County Superior Court will agree with Attorney General Horne or with the clubs remains to be seen, but one club operator said he welcomed the move.

"I want the courts to weigh in and make a decision," said Al Sobol of the 2811 Club, one of the businesses named in the lawsuit. But Horne's statement that his club was guilty of "deception" made him bristle. "What's deceptive is when the state gives you a card, charges you $150 for it, then makes it so you have no way of using it," he told the Phoenix New Times. Horne and Gov. Jan Brewer are "abusing their authority," he added.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


ConservativeCh… (not verified)

Ms. Brewer's actions are consistent with her close ties to the private, for-profit prison industry (the people who want to lock up your kids so that they can keep on making a buck): Here's some info from Wikipedia, and a link to the underlying story:

“The Brewer administration has also been investigated by KPHO for hiring Chuck Coughlin and Paul Senseman, both lobbyists for Corrections Corporation of America, as a policy advisor and communications director.[39] Although Coughlin continues work as both a lobbyist and policy advisor, Senseman no longer does work for CCA. CCA operates six private, for-profit prisons in Arizona.[40] ”.
Here’s the KPHO story, including a description of tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money from Corrections Corporation.
So Ms. Brewer is working to keep marijuana illegal and is at the same time hiring staff from a very large, for-profit prison corporation and taking campaign money from them. The AZ campaign finance site is at but it’s not working for me; can anybody go in and see how much Ms. Brewer has taken from the prison industry? Is that really the government that we want… run by the prison companies? Is there someone in AZ that could get this info into the public arena?

Tue, 08/09/2011 - 2:06pm Permalink
sicntired (not verified)

The above comment sheds a whole new light on the article above it.This is what happens when a society discovers that it can make money from human misery.These prisons hire out their captive labor force for cash and claim that it is to cover expenses.What it is is slavery,plain and simple.Then there's Joe Arpaio, and his inhumane tent city compound. It is so beyond the pale that I have no idea when they decided that this was any kind of law or order.When did it become OK to treat men and women like animals,no worse than lab rats?This turns the clock back to an age we thought we had evolved beyond but Arpaio, has proven that all it takes is one mad man in a position of power to turn history and progress on it's ear.There are,I'm sure,some decent people in Arizona.Where are they and how do they allow elected officials to return to office when they flaunt not only the laws of man but of plain human decency?

There is nothing but reams of evidence that this approach does nothing to reduce recidivism and only pleases a mind that thrills at the degradation of his fellow man.The Politicians here are just plain corrupt.Arpaio is a sadist.

Tue, 08/09/2011 - 11:55pm Permalink
Giordano (not verified)

Arizonans marginalize themselves when they allow a know-nothing politician to run roughshod over their new voter-approved state law mandating medical patient access to marijuana.  People need to understand that what their politicians do as representatives reflects upon them as the state’s citizens.  The embarrassment caused by the Governor’s anti-marijuana campaign means that the people of Arizona need to revolt.  They need to do it soon.  They can’t just stand by and let Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and London get all the news coverage.  No one is taking crap from governments anymore.

As for Gov. Jan Brewer, she is no medical doctor, and she is most certainly no scientist; yet Gov. Brewer has the audacity to challenge thousands of research studies and personal case histories that demonstrate marijuana’s effectiveness at relieving the symptoms of a wide variety of illnesses.  

For some cancer patients, access to quality medical marijuana can be a matter of life or death.  But Jan Brewer doesn’t care about people’s suffering, their health, their quality of life, or even life itself; and neither does her little consigliore, Attorney General Tom Horne. 

There are historical precedents for the kind of hysteria being demonstrated by Ms. Brewer and Mr. Horne.

Around the turn of the 19th century, some religious wackos decided that smallpox vaccinations were an affront to God’s will.  For some believers, disease and plagues were still considered a punishment by God for one’s sins, whether one had any sins or not.  Thus the Anti-Vaccination Society was formed, both in London and Boston.  At the time, smallpox comprised an estimated 10% of the total mortality rate in Europe and North America (ref: A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, 2 vols., A. D. White, c. 1898).   

Of course, the real threat posed by religious dogma touting vaccination prohibition was to its believers, some of whom died of smallpox.  Nature has its own way of disposing of idiots.

Nature may eventually deal harshly with Jan Brewer and Tom Horne in much the same way.  Years from now, as both politicians stubbornly reject the miracle of medical cannabis, as they reside in agony in some decrepit nursing home, all the while suffering from diabetes, incontinence, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, pruritus, Parkinson’s disease, and a host of other age-related ailments that could have been helped by medical marijuana, justice will be served.


Wed, 08/10/2011 - 1:57pm Permalink
luminous b ing (not verified)

Politicians like that have their fall back - RALIVIA Yes synthetic OPIUM why go with weed when they get the best. You are close to the money though IT IS A POOR MAN'S MEDICATION FOR THOSE THAT HAVE BELIEF IN IT. Produce it yourself and a steady stream of FREE MEDICATION - now there's the bad word - FREE

Wed, 08/10/2011 - 3:50pm Permalink
joebanana (not verified)

Where in the constitution does it prohibit cannabis? Waging war on the states (as in drug war) is treason. And since it's retarded to wage war on an inanimate object, this war must be against people, American people. It's become apparent lately that their is no benefit of having the government we do. It's become more harmful, costly, dangerous, and deadly than beneficial. When everything they tell us is a lie, why do we pay to be lied to?

Sat, 08/13/2011 - 5:09am Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.