State Capitol News
9:18 am
Wed January 25, 2012

AZ Health Department Not Appealing Medical Marijuana Ruling

The state's first medical marijuana dispensary could be up, operating and selling the drug legally by July. 

State Health Director Will Humble announced late Tuesday he does not intend to appeal a decision last week by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Richard Gama that some of the rules the state proposed for dispensary operators are illegal. One required applicants to have been an Arizona resident for three years. Another gave favorable treatment to applicants who had never declared bankruptcy. In that same ruling, the judge said Gov. Jan Brewer, who had ordered Humble not to issue dispensary licenses amid questions of liability of state workers, had acted illegally.

"We need to adjust our rules," said Humble, "to be in accordance with what Judge Gama said. And so we're making those adjustments now. We're going to use an expedited process. And I think we can get the rule package ready to go and accept applications as early as April."

That paves the way for requests from those who want to operate one of the 125 dispensaries the 2010 voter-approved law envisions to supply those who have a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana.

With a 45-day review period, Humble predicted the Health Department would probably have the lottery around June 15th, "which would put dispensaries up and running probably in mid July."

The state already has issued about 18,000 medical marijuana cards since the law took effect last year. But with no dispensaries, that has left only one legal source for users: Growing their own.