15 Firms File Papers To Sell Medical Marijuana In Arizona


Graphic: Reality Catcher

‚ÄčThe rush is on. It isn’t even legal yet, unless and until the voters approve in November. But more than a dozen companies are setting up shop in Arizona in hopes of getting into the business of selling medical marijuana.

The initiative, if passed, will allow 120 dispensaries across the state, reports Howard Fischer of the Arizona Daily Star. Each one will be permitted to grow an unlimited amount of marijuana onsite and at one additional location, but cannot cultivate it within 500 feet of a school.
The Arizona law requires that medical marijuana dispensaries be set up as nonprofit corporations. But that isn’t deterring prospective dealers who hope to get one of those 120 licenses.

Among the first in line, Allan Sobol, has been hired by Medical Marijuana Dispensaries of Arizona, one of 15 firms to already file the required paperwork with the Arizona Corporation Commission, to get the business up and running.
“The company that gets the jump start on this and gets the mailing list of the potential patients is going to be the number one dispensary in Arizona for the future,” Sobol said. “We decided to go after it.”
The company he works for is actually already open for business, though there isn’t any marijuana for sale yet.
The firm’s website is signing up prospective patients as well as doctors who might be interested in authorizing and referring patients.
“We call it preemptive marketing,” Sobol said.
Pre-registration is available on the website, according to Sobol.
“Once the law passes, we’ll provide you with information on how to get your [medical marijuana]card,” he said.
Proposition 203, if approved, would allow those with a state-issued medical marijuana card to buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks — 10 to 21 joints a day depending on potency. Getting the marijuana will require a patient to get written authorization from a doctor who is supposed to do a “full assessment” of the patient’s medical history.
Sobol said that is different than California, where dispensaries can get a doctor’s certification onsite. But he said some people will still need a referral, so he mailed about 10,000 Arizona doctors information about the initiative and about the company, and asked if they would recommend their patients.
Sobol said “several” have already responded, although he said he won’t name names until Proposition 203 becomes law.
More than 39,000 Arizonans are likely to have medical marijuana cards by 2013, according to legislative budget staffers, with another 26,400 people licensed as “caregivers,” who can grow or obtain cannabis for someone else.
Campaign finance reports show $640,523 in donations, mostly from the Marijuana Policy Project, a national organization which supports the initiative. Opponents, operating as “Keep Arizona Drug Free” (was it ever, really?), report just $6,685 in donations in their latest report.
The most vocal opposition to the measure is coming from — you guessed it! — law enforcement officers and prosecutors, including Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall and infamous Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Both said they see this as a “first step” to legalizing marijuana for everyone and, and both irrationally claim it will increase crime in neighborhoods and give fuel to drug cartels.
LaWall even claimed that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has found that marijuana originating from Mexico has been sold in dispensaries. Hey Barbara, try selling some Mexican schwag at dispensary prices — let me know that turns out for you, ‘k?
West Hollywood City Councilman Joh Duran also shredded his own credibility by claiming that some collectives there get their marijuana from the cartels.
Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, admitted that there are probably some people — like those who have nausea from chemotherapy and individuals who need an appetite stimulant to keep from wasting away — who would benefit from medical marijuana. But Humble claimed there are also likely to be abuses by people who just want legal access to marijuana (horrors!) and doctors who may be less than attentive to what will really help their patients (does he really think this is a new development and limited to marijuana recommendations?)