Today I got an email from firstname.lastname@example.org. The message said
“Seeking a cultivation and product solution to meet the needs of your dispensary? Then attend the Medical Marijuana Industry Forums this week, hosted by the Marijuana Policy Project and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, and sponsored by [deleted]. . . . attendees will have the opportunity to meet with AzMMA Partners who can help contribute to the business plan, DHS application, and actual operation of dispensaries. Partners providing insurance, employee benefits, product testing, banking and credit card payment services, security, and more.”
The message concluded with this statement,
“The Arizona Medical Marijuana Association is a non-profit, membership-based, professional association that seeks to advance interests of Arizona’s medical marijuana profession and the patients it serves.”
On Saturday I got another email message from the same sender that started “Need banking services for your dispensary?” and then proceeded to peddle its banking partner. I am confused. Is the AzMMA a “non-profit, membership-based, professional association that seeks to advance interests of Arizona’s medical marijuana profession,” a sales and marketing organization or is it even a legal entity recognized by the State of Arizona?
One thing is certain – the AzMMA is not is a legally created Arizona corporation or a nonprofit professional association. Although Joe Yuhas either reserved the name “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association” or filed Articles of Incorporation for an entity with that name on March 8, 2011, to date no corporation has been formed in Arizona with that name. Nor has an entity with that name formed outside Arizona registered to do business in Arizona. I just checked the Arizona Corporation Commission’s website and it shows that the Arizona Corporation Commission is working on Articles of Incorporation filed on March 22, 2011, and that it’s time to review documents filed on an expedited basis is five business days. Check the ACC’s corporate status website for yourself and see if you can find an entity formed in Arizona or registered to do business in Arizona under the name “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association.”
The AzMMA’s emails and its website claim it is a “professional association.” It’s website even claims that is was formed in 2010 shortly after the passage of Proposition 203. Technically, even if it were an ACC approved corporation the AzMMA could not be a professional association under Arizona law. The terms “professional association” and “professional corporation” under Arizona’s statutory law refer to a specific type of corporation formed pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes Section 10-2201 et seq. Section 10-2211.A, states:
“a corporation may elect professional corporation status under section 10-2210 solely for the purpose of rendering professional services, including services ancillary to them, and solely within a single profession.”
Arizona’s professional corporation statutes only allow certain professionals such as doctors, lawyers, Realtors, and accountants to form an Arizona professional association and the corporation’s activities are limited to practicing the profession through its licensed professionals. I have no idea why the AzMMA wants to be or claims to be a “professional association.”
Another thing I noticed is that the AzMMA is very stealthy. When it sent letters to the Arizona Department of Health Services commenting on the proposed rules, the AzMMA had a graphical logo and its name on the letterhead, but no address or phone number. The AzMMA’s website does not have an address or a phone number or even a name of anybody associated with the organization. Why the secrecy? Why can’t the public know where to find the AzMMA and who its leaders are?
For some baffling reason the AzMMA seems to be the media’s go-to quote-machine whenever something happens related to Arizona medical marijuana. For example, the Phoenix New Times, the Arizona Capitol Times and the Daily Courier all called Andrew Myers of the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association” for comments when DHS released the final rules on March 28, 2011. Perhaps the story writers should do a little investigative journalism and find out more about the secretive and not quite able to incorporation AzMMA. You would think that a reporter would do a little fact checking before writing a story and quoting a person who claims to be part of a nonprofit association that in reality is not a validly existing Arizona entity.
Tomorrow and the next day the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association and the Marijuana Policy Project are sponsoring a four hour forum with six speakers who will talk about Arizona’s medical marijuana laws. Will Humble is one of the speakers. Why is Will Humble providing his name and the authority of Arizona Department of Health Services in assisting the AzMMA to make a buck? The price of admission is $300. Not bad for a self-proclaimed “nonprofit association.” The sign-up page for the forum is on the Marijuana Policy Project’s website. It says, “If your company wants to sponsor this pair of events for $5,000, please email MPP at RobKampia@mpp.org.” Again, not too shabby for a “nonprofit association.”
Besides the AzMMA, there are four sponsors (4 x $5,000 – $20,000) for the event:
- Gammage & Burnham law firm – It’s providing an election law attorney (?) and two zoning attorneys (?) as forum speakers.
- TAG Employer Services was founded by Ron Bleich and Jack Biltis in 2003
- National Cannabis Industry Association whose board of directors includes Joe Yuhas (of Riester and the AzMMA), Rob Kampia (of the Marijuana Policy Project) and Ken Kulow (of Chameleon Glass and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Industry Association). Kampia and Yuhas are speakers at the forum.
- Medicine Dispensing Systems – distributor of the marijuana vending machine.
It appears that the forum may be a way for MPP to raise money for its own use. One of MPP’s stated purposes is to “Change state laws to reduce or eliminate penalties for the medical and non-medical use of marijuana.” Whether or not you agree with MPP’s purpose, it just doesn’t seem right for Will Humble and ADHS to assist MPP and AzMMA or any organization to raise money for their private purposes.
Question for Mr. Humble: If another fledgling Arizona medical marijuana industry association (there are a lot of these outfits vying to become the industry’s support organization) were to ask you to speak, would you speak for 30 – 60 minutes so it could charge sponsors $5,000 and attendees $300? If not, why do it for the secretive AzMMA?
- “Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Declares War on Arizona Department of Health Services, Marijuana Policy Project & the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association“
- “What is the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association?“