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alan sobol

Medical Marijuana Compassion Club Raid by Phoenix Police Leaps Ahead of Court Case on Legality of Clubs

Phoenix New Times:  “Before Wednesday’s raid of a marijuana promoter Al Sobol’s . . . [2811 Club], Phoenix police officials discussed a pending court case on the legality, in general, of such clubs. . . . The whole situation reeks of dirty politics. . . . Horne, an ambitious politician who wants to be governor, could use the potential victory in the clubs case to advance his political opposition to the medical marijuana law.”

October 14th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off|

James Chaney, Owner of Tempe Pot Club Raided by DEA, Also Suspected of Possessing Meth

Phoenix New Times:  “The owner of a Tempe medical marijuana club raided by the DEA last week was already being sought by cops for possession of methamphetamine, records show.  James Chaney, 37, was arrested along with co-worker Rachel Beeder, 25, on September 29 during the morning raid of the Arizona Go Green Compassion Club at 426 East Southern Avenue. . . . Allan Sobol, the medical pot marketer who opened a compassion club in June, says he agrees with the DEA’s decision.”

October 5th, 2011|Cannabis Clubs, Marijuana Crimes, Stories & Articles|Comments Off|

Protecting Prop 203 – With Success Comes Danger

Nearly a year after being approved by voters, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act has proven popular with patients, yet much of the Act remains on rocky legal ground.

Six active lawsuits confirm early predictions that such a significant social policy change would engender substantial court action.  What wasn’t known was how patients, caregivers and the business community serving these individuals would respond when the State once again attempted to scuttle the will of the voters.

In January of this year Attorney General Tom Horne offered anti-Prop 203 leader Carolyn Short a gift: he could disembowel significant portions of the Act by pitting Arizona’s new law against the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and last but not least, the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, Nixon’s reaction to the social unrest being fomented by the era’s youth - and still the underpinning of Federal law.  Once Governor Jan Brewer finally browbeat Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble into being the State’s Plaintiff, Horne petitioned the federal court for a “Declaratory Judgement” stating that the Act did or did not conflict with federal statutue – which of course it does, as it has in every state with a medical marijuana law.

Horne had to know his abuse of the judicial system wouldn’t yield a favorable ruling, but he also knew this: the suit would create confusion and doubt about the Act, weakening public support for a ballot initiative that won by only the slimmest of margins.  This would buy opponents time to create a “sky is falling” narrative, dutifully reported by an obedient press: that “medical” marijuana is a sham, a cover for what in actuality is a recreational users program; that dispensaries would attract crime and blight to neighborhoods; that cartels would move in under the guise of being legal dispensaries; and, that medicating patients would cause trouble in the workplace, etc, etc ad nauseum.

This storyline failed during the 2010 election cycle, but could now have the effect sought by opponents.  Why? Because due to the Act’s passage and the government’s failure to fully stop its implementation, there are patients legally using marijuana for medicinal purposes,  patients and caregivers cultivating crops, and compassion clubs and collectives opening up across the State to provide patients with access to the medicine they voted for – all activities in which just a few wrong steps, misjudgements, foolish or criminal acts might be enough to turn the tide of public opinion towards the opponent’s desired goal – repeal of the Act.

Unsurprisingly, some regretable incidents have occurred.  The press, rarely missing an opportunity to cast MMJ in a bad light, reports each incident with just enough objectivity to mask its underlying Reefer Madness bias, confirming the worst fears of opponents while stirring doubt among casual supporters of Prop 203 last November.

So,we have a hostile government (with the Legisature reconvening in January), media outlets continually sensationalizing the subject, and well-connected private citizens whose overriding life goal is re-criminalizing personal behaviors we’ve just determined should be legal.

What is IN our favor is significant, if utilized with direction and purpose.  Raw assets include 13,000+ patients and caregivers, whose numbers grow daily; responsible business owners whose fledgling enterprises are starting to bear fruit; a nationwide network of supporting advocates who have been down this same rough road; and, the knowledge that a majority of Arizonans from across the political spectrum support the right of patients to have this medicine if they so choose.

Next: An actionable plan for advocates.

[Note] Although many know me as an insurance agent providing coverage for compassion clubs and grows, in a former life I worked ten years for an elected official. My political experience also includes advising local and state candidates and non-profit lobbying.  From these experiences I learned that even underdogs can win – but only if they are in the game.

Doug Banfelder is a commercial insurance specialist.  Reach him at 480-315-9051, dougb@psigllc.com, or at www.PremierDispensaryInsurance.com

Alan Sobol’s August 15, 2011, Motion in His Cannabis Club Lawsuit

The following is the text of a motion filed by Alan Sobol in his lawsuit against Arizona to establish the legality of his cannabis club.

1.  Plaintiff Allan Sobol, pro/per files this brief memorandum as his Motion for Immediate Summary decision or in the alternative  Expedited Hearing on his Complaint for Declaratory Judgment. This motion is filed because of the extreme controversy that is effecting the community at large and which demands immediate Court  resolution.

2.  Summary decision is appropriate because the facts are clear and undisputed that the Plaintiffs  2811 Club business model is not in violation or conflict with any Arizona Laws.

3.  Moreover, summary decision is appropriate because of the significant amount of  Arizona citizens that are being adversely effected by the on going controversy.

4.  On November 2, 2010, Arizona voters were asked to consider whether the State should decriminalize medical marijuana. Proposition 203, an initiative measure identified as the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Act” (“The Act” or “AMMA”), envisioned decriminalizing medical marijuana for use by people with certain chronic and debilitating medical conditions. Qualifying patients would be able to receive up to 2 ½ ounces of marijuana every two weeks from medical marijuana dispensaries or to cultivate their own plants under certain conditions. Proposition 203 provided that its purpose “is to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians and providers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties and property forfeiture if such  patients engage in the medical use of marijuana.”

5.  Arizona voters passed Proposition 203 in November 2010; the Governor signed it into law on December 14, 2010.

6.  The defendants in this Action have been very vocal in their opposition to Prop 203, and apparently are displaying sour grapes over the voters choice.

7.  Defendant  Brewer, as Governor,  is vested with the supreme executive power of Arizona and regardless of her personal beliefs, she  is responsible for the faithful execution of all laws,  including the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act,

8.  Furthermore, The Act requires the Arizona Department of Health Services (“ADHS”) to be responsible for implementing and overseeing the Act.

9.  Specifically, the Act provides for the registration and certification by the, ADHS of “nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries,” “nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary agents,” “qualifying patients,” and “designated caregivers.”\

10.  On April 14, 2011, the ADHS began accepting applications from persons who sought to be certified as Qualifying Patients and Designated Caregivers. As of August 15, 2011, there were over 8000 Qualifying Patients certified by the ADHS including the plaintiff herein.

11.  However, on or about June 1, 2011, in an attempt to thwart the will of the voters and impose her own personal beliefs on the citizens of Arizona, defendant Brewer suspended the dispensary portion of the ACT. This represents a bad faith abuse on the part of  the Governors  authority.

12.  Defendants suspension of the dispensary program effectively denied most qualified patients the ability and right to obtain the medical marijuana authorized under the ACT.

13.  The very purpose of the Act was to provide for a qualifying patient, who has a “debilitating medical condition” to obtain an “allowable amount of marijuana” from a nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary” and to possess and use the marijuana to treat or alleviate the   serious debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the medical condition

14.  Denial of relief to these seriously ill patients equates to cruel and unusual punishment , a violation of the Voter Protection Act and a  clear abuse of the Governors authority.

15.  The majority of qualified patients are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Many are confined to wheel chairs with disfigurements, missing limbs or simply weak and frail resulting from their debilitating conditions. These individuals suffer daily from chronic pain and other ailments that this Act was intended to alleviate.    Absent a safe and legal way to acquire their medication these qualified patients are forced into the very risky black market to acquire the medication they so desperately desire. This exposes many qualified patients to the criminal elements including con artist and robbers.

16.  Absent a viable dispensary program where a qualified patient could purchase affordable small quantities of medical marijuana as needed, denies these patients the right under the Act to possess and use medical marijuana.

17.  The only recourse available to these disfranchised qualified patients is to seek and acquire free quantities of medical marijuana from other qualified patients who are willing to donate their excess marijuana as it may be available.

18.  Under the ACT,  (36-2811 B-3),   “patient to patient” transfers of medical marijuana is specifically permitted provided nothing of value is exchanged.

19.  The inherent problem is the fact that under the ACT all qualified patient records maintained by AHDS are confidential. In fact, the ACT makes it a crime for any AHDS employee to release patient information to a third party.  Consequently, there is no way, other than high risk internet   Craigslist type classified advertising, for a patient looking to acquire free marijuana to locate another donating patient with excess marijuana.

20.  In an effort to assist qualified patients, plaintiff  Sobol developed a business  model concept intended to provide qualified patients with a venue to network. A place they could come to meet other qualified patients.  The 2811 Club, LLC, (Named after the provisions of the Act which allow patient to patient transfers ), The 2811 Club, hereinafter referred to as the” CLUB”, is  a is a professionally operated, membership only entity.

21.  For marketing purposes the business is called a club,  However, the Club’s primary function is that of a Educational and Resource center for qualified patients. Through the Club’s affiliation with Plaintiff Sobol’s other business, the Arizona Cannabis University, ( previously known as the Arizona Dispensary University) , the Club offers extensive educational services to qualified patients.  The Arizona Cannabis University has been offering classes to the general public since September 2010, and has built a credible reputation for providing  one of the most extensive marijuana related curriculums in the country. The University has been repeatedly featured on all local TV and print media  and  some national news organizations.   The University has from time to time offered classes across the state utilizing hotel conference rooms as needed. Additionally, like most Universities, the Arizona Cannabis University comes complete with a private campus. The physical, permanent classroom and  campus is located at 17233 N. Holmes Blvd Suite 1615, Phoenix AZ 85053 and features, extensive  on-line research services, free wi-fi, an extensive marijuana related book and video library, daily entertainment, a school discount  store, pain management demonstrations, political advocacy programs, even spiritual sermons but most importantly, a lounge area for qualified patients to interact and network together. This is a closed campus where only qualified patients who possess a AZDHS medical marijuana card are permitted to enter.  The University and Club interact together in a clean, professional  and safe environment to provide much needed services to qualified patients.  This unique  one-of-kind  facility provides  professional armed security and  a  state of art  surveillance system together with  patient verification and tracking to assure full compliance with the ACT.

22.  The Facility charges a yearly membership fee of $25.00 to qualified patients. Thereafter, the Club/University charges a usage fee of $75.00 per day which entitles the patient/member to full access of the facility and all it’s services. The Club maintains a policy of fee waivers for individuals with limited income. This fee pays for the overhead, (cost of operations), of the facility including the rent, electric, security, insurance, payrolls, educational services, etc.

23.  The  word “Club” is merely the vessel that brings qualified patients together. The Club facility is simply a  venue for qualified patients to interact with other  qualified patients. Contrary to the allegations of the Defendant, the Club does not sell, produce, transport, transfer or distribute Marijuana in any form. The defendants have produced no evidence that suggest otherwise.  The Club does allow qualified patient/members, pursuant  to ARS 36-2811 B-3, to exchange their  own marijuana with  other patients. Everyone in the club facility is a qualified patient. These are direct “ patient to patient” transfers that are in no way associated with the Club management or the usage fees charged. The Club has strict written rules that limit marijuana transfers to no more than 2.5 ounces and there can be no exchange of  any value. Violation of these rules mean immediate and permanent expulsion from the Club.

24.  Additionally, the Club donates space to a private not-for-profit Association; The Arizona Compassion Association, Inc.  This association is not a collective.  The association is comprised of approximately 50 qualified patients who each, individually,  grow their own medical marijuana. This association  was formed to advance their mutual beliefs to share knowledge and otherwise network together for the betterment of the industry. This association is protected under the First and Fourteen amendment of the US Constitution.

25.  The qualified patients of the association, who are all members of the club, bring  very limited amounts of their excess marijuana into the club and transfer  it “FREE OF CHARGE/VALUE”  to any Club member that request it.  These are also direct “patient to patient” transfers as permitted under the ACT and are in no way connected to the operation of the Club, or the fees that are charged.  Again, the Defendants have produced no evidence to suggest otherwise. These transfers are not conditioned upon payment of entry to the club. If two qualified patients  are enrolled in ASU, or perhaps a local community college, and conducted a patient to patient transfer  in the lounge of that school, would the Attorney General  threaten to  criminally prosecute  and close down the School? .  In fact,  the Act does not limit where such patient to patient transfers can take place. Qualified patients could meet on a street corner, a movie theater, or even a Mcdonalds.  These transfers can take place outside of the Clubs facilities, however, our patient/members voluntarily elect to conduct the transfer in the Club while  enjoying the Clubs facilities, services and security.

26.  The club owners, and the plaintiff have no legal affiliation with the association, other than a simple agreement that provides some donated space and the requirement that the association conduct themselves in a professional business-like manner, in full compliance with Arizona Law. Any perceived benefit the association may receive from the donated space  is being realized by the legal entity ( The Association) and not by any individual patient/member. There simply is nothing of value being exchanged directly from the Club to any individual qualified patient.

27.  For these reasons the Club is operating within  full compliance of the law.

28.  Having effectively stopped the Dispensary portion of the law, the defendants are  now unjustly taking aim at the only remaining option  qualified patients have to obtain their medication.

29.  While the  defendants have not produced one scintilla of evidence  demonstrating any illegal activity at the 2811 Club, the defendants have nevertheless threathen the club owners with criminal  arrest and prosecution.   This Club/university is being singled out for prosecution because of its marijuana curriculum.   The defendants  have relied on  marketing materials, news reports, hearsay, and  speculation. But have not presented this Court with any substantive evidence to support their allegations. In fact, the marketing materials produced by the Defendants supports the argument of the Plaintiff.

30.  Moreover,  the plaintiff has been completely transparent and forthright  in the development and operation of the Club.  The Plaintiff has made numerous good faith efforts  to explain and demonstrate the operation of the Club to the Defendants.  Sobol has invited the defendants to visit the club on at least three separate occasions for a first-hand  on-site inspection, the defendants  have  ignored all such requests. The plaintiff has repeatedly conveyed the following proposition to the defendants; that if defendant can produce a specific Arizona Statute showing that the Club is in violation of the law, Sobol will agree to withdraw his license and  close the Club.  The defendants have failed to respond to this request The defendants have failed to present any specific Arizona Statute whereby they can support their allegations that the Club has violated any State law. (Ubi jus incertum, ibi jus nullum). The fact is, the Club is a legally registered, fully compliant, and legitimate business operation

31.  The defendants have clearly voiced their personal opposition to The Medical Marijuana Act. The defendants, acting in concert with each other,  are conspiring to use the power of their office to further their personal beliefs and agenda regarding marijuana, all  in dereliction of  their official duties.  As Governor  Brewer is vested with the supreme executive power of Arizona and is responsible for the faithful execution of all laws, including the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. Instead, the Governor and Mr. Humble are abusing their authority  by threatening  and intimating legitimate business owners out of existence  in an effort to thwart the will of the Arizona voters.

32.  The Club operation is fully compliant with Arizona State Law and the Defendants have produced no evidence to suggest otherwise.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Sobol respectfully requests declaratory relief as follows:

A.  Grant  Summary Decision in this matter or, in the alternative, Grant an Expedited hearing in this matter.

B.  Deny all the Defendant requests.

C.  Find in favor of Plaintiff,  that Sobol’s specific 2811 club business model is not in violation of any Arizona State Laws.

D.  That the Court grant such other and further relief as it deems appropriate and proper.

Dated this 15th day of August, 2011.

ALLAN SOBOL pro per
Plaintiff/Counterdefendant

/s Allan Sobol___________

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I certify that on this 15th day of August 2011. I electronically transmitted a PDF version of this document to the Office of the Clerk of the Superior Court, Maricopa County, using Turbo Court ECF System, with a copy also mailed to :

Office of the Arizona Attorney General
Att: Lori Davis
1275 W Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2926

INDEX OF EXHIBITS

  1. Sobol’s Medical Marijuana card issued by AZDHS
  2. Arizona Cannabis University  media publicity
  3. 2811 Club Marketing Materials
  4. Memorandum of Agreement  between 2811 Club and Arizona Compassion Association, Inc.
  5. Communications  from 2811 Club to Law Enforcement
  6. Letter to Attorney General offering to close 2811 Club
  7. Defendants opposition to Prop 203 and medical marijuana.
August 16th, 2011|AZ Marijuana Law Lawsuits, Stories & Articles|Comments Off|

Alan Sobol Alleges Government Corruption

Alan Sobol of the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals posted an article on his website in which he alleges that certain groups are controlling the issuance of licenses to operate an Arizona medical marijuana dispensary.  He said “The fix is in.”

May 1st, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off|

Alan Sobol Says “You Are Being SCAMMED!”

Alan Sobol:  “AZDHS will start accepting  Dispensary applications during the month of June 2011.  This gives applicants a maximum of 75 days or less from the date of publication of the Final Rules to obtain zoning approval, which in most cases is virtually impossible. . . . Under Title 36, only the Arizona Health Department is authorized to select the Dispensary owners.  Under the aforementioned scenario,  it appears that AZDHS has deferred its authority to select the Dispensary owners to the City of Scottsdale . . . . This is a scenario that will be repeated all across Arizona.  This is a scam!!

April 30th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off|

Alan Sobol’s April 17, 2011, Letter to Will Humble

As you may know we called for the Resignation or removal of Mr. Humble last week, (See April 11th 2011 seed2successblog.com.)

On April 15 2011 Mr. Humble was questioned by the Arizona Business Journal concerning our removal demands. His peculiar response raises legitimate questions of his competency.  When asked about our resignation demands Mr. Humble responded;

“My staff screens a group’s reputation before accepting any engagements, I have received numerous requests for speaking engagements but there is one group I have rejected: the Arizona Association of Dispensary professionals, Inc. led by Director Allan Sobol”.

Now Mr. Humble did not elaborate on his reasons but in contradiction to that statement he did acknowledge that he agreed to speak at the Green Relief Expo, an event whose primary sponsor was Marijuana Marketing Strategies, llc, also Directed by yours truly, Allan Sobol. What Humble failed to tell the press was that when he was first asked to speak at The Green Relief Expo back in February he REFUSED.  Only after we accused him of special treatment for his friends at MPP and AZMMA did Humble reverse himself and agree to speak.  However, his offer to speak was made with conditions, (conditions not required with MPP and AZMMA).

Apparently afraid of what might be asked from a group not controlled by his friends; his terms to attend the event were that he would not take any verbal questions from the audience. (The only speaker at the EXPO with that condition).  Instead, Humble stated, he would only answer written questions submitted by the audience, AND ONLY after the questions were screened and censored by his handlers.  Humble’s behavior and  comments are further evidence of his bias.  Clearly these comments were intended to promote the interest of his friends at AZMMA.

Let’s get the facts straight.  In November 2010 I asked Mr. Humble to speak at a FREE educational seminar.  The response I received from his staff was that Humble would not meet with anyone who has a financial interest in the Dispensary program. ( Although I explained to them that we would not be applying for a license.)

The Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals, Inc is a legally formed legitimate Association authorized under the laws of the State Of Arizona.  We are in fact Arizona’s largest Medical Marijuana Industry Trade Association consisting of over 7000 members.

On the other hand, The Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, AZMMA, is an offshoot of MPP, and  the only action ever taken by that Association was when, on March 8th 2011, Joe Yuhas reserved the name of the proposed entity with the Arizona Corporation Commission.  This name filing was submitted two (2) days after  we filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s office alleging that the AZMMA was committing criminal fraud by charging seminar fees and claiming that the monies collected were tax deductable. This was fraudulent:  AZMMA is not a legally registered corporation, and surly is not a 501c3 (not for profit entity ).  The act of reserving a name with the Arizona Corporation Commission  in no way establishes AZMMA as a legal entity authorized to do business in Arizona.  It is merely a precursor to filing Corporate Documents.  AZMMA’s representations that they are authorized to do business in this state, or that they are a Not-for-profit entity may very well represent criminal fraud.

It appears that Mr. Humble needs a new PR Company!   Let us all understand what is taking place here.  Mr. Humble tells the press “that his staff screens the reputation of a group before accepting any engagement”, nevertheless, he will speak with, and associate with a fee based function promoted by AZMMA, (illegally operated by his long time friend and and former MPP operative Joe Yuhas),    which is an unlicensed, unauthorized non-entity making fraudulent claims. However, he refuses to speak at a FREE function sponsored by a legitimate Arizona Industry Association.  This clearly creates an appearance of impropriety.  Additionally, It appears that we must question the competency of his staff’s ability to review these agenda requests. If that is so, how can we trust this same staff to review applications for Dispensary operators!!!   Will the same bias apply?
It should also be noted that at that same event,  Mr. Humble’s other close friend, Andrew Meyer, was plying the trade of a new, also unregistered, illegal company called 203organics.
It appears to me that the Director of a AZDHS was endorsing and associating himself with a number of  schemes not authorized to do business in this State.  Is this the guy we want regulating the Medical Marijuana Industry?

It’s obvious that Mr. Humble is uncomfortable with the truth we bring to this process. His remarks are without merit and solely intended to damage the good work and reputation of our Association.

Mr. Humble does not need an army of security guards to protect him from us; we are a professional organization merely attempting to assure fairness in this process.  Instead of fearing us he should embrace us.  Associations like ours and many others across the state can bring a wealth of knowledge, information, positive impute and balance to this process.  It is truly unfortunate that Mr.  Humble is too biased to understand that.

Not to be distracted, there is one significant issue in the Final Rules which still needs immediate clarification.  In order to provide a level playing field for all potential applicants Mr. Humble, or his replacement, must identify who will actually choose the Dispensary winners.  Will it be the local zoning jurisdictions or the AZDHS?   Mr. Humble continues to do the CHA CHA with respect to this very important question.  While the final rules dictate that you will only need a letter from the local zoning jurisdiction stating that the proposed dispensary location meets the required zoning rules. What happens if you cannot get that letter??   Humble has already stated that you will not need a Special Use Permit ( SUP) or Temporary Use Permit, (TUP) with your initial Dispensary Application.  However, What Humble has consistently ignored and danced around is the  important question; what happens if a local jurisdiction refuses to give you such a letter?  Many of you may be aware of the fact that some jurisdictions have conducted “pre-zoning-registrations”.  In some cases these “Pre-zoning-registrations” were conducted without advance public notice. Certain select applicants with “inside” information were first in line months ago to  pre-register.  Some local jurisdictions are refusing to accept other applicants, or have indicated they will not write letters of compliance for those that did not “pre-register”.  I believe that this is a pre-mediated effort on the part of some influential individuals to win dispensary licenses for their clients.  If that local jurisdiction does not provide you with a letter  stating that your property meets the requirements of local zoning requirements, will the AZDHS deny your application solely on that basis???.   If that is the case then only applicants previously approved by their local zoning authority will be granted AZDHS Dispensary Licenses.  In that event AZDHS is acquiescing to local jurisdictions it’s authority under Title 36 to select the Dispensary Applicants.

So, Mr. Humble,  we know you are reading this, we are asking you to clarify this issue.

We believe AZDHS has no authority to assign it’s authority under Title 36 to Local Zoning Jurisdictions.  In fact, to do so would be actionable by any applicant damaged by that process.   A simple solution to this issue would be to forgo any zoning requirements till after the Dispensary Applicants have been chosen.  It is very likely at that time many of the approved applicants may elect to move their facility to better locations within their CHAA.  These new better locations will become available when the non-selected applicants terminate their lease agreements.

Additionally,  considering all the rumors , allegations, and other suggestions of impropriety surrounding this process  it appears that the only fair way to review and select Dispensary Applicants would be establish a review board comprised of  members from the general public, the legal community, the Medical Marijuana industry and of course AZDHS.

In the interest of making this a fair and equal process to all we encourage Mr. Humble to work with all legitimate Organizations.

Sincerely,

 

Allan Sobol, Director
Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals, Inc.

April 19th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off|

Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Asks for an Investigation of Will Humble & the Arizona Department of Health Services

Alan Sobol and his Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals are demanding that there be an investigation of Will Humble and the Arizona Department of Health Services with respect to their implementation of Arizona’s medical marijuana laws.  In a blog post Mr. Sobol makes various allegations about Will Humble and concludes:

“The people of Arizona are initialed to a fair and impartial  administration of the program.  Mr. Humble’s actions demand a through external investigation.  The implementation of the Dispensary Application process should be delayed until such time as the rules and their development process can be reviewed by outside counsel.  We respectfully request that your office conduct a full investigation into this matter.”

April 12th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off|

Alan Sobol Adds the Rose Law Group to His List that Includes DHS, MPP & AzMMA

Alan Sobol’s latest letter to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble is dated March 14, 2011, and it contains some explosive allegations.  In the letter Mr. Sobol complains about the zoning nightmare created by DHS rules and the cities of Arizona.  He correctly claims that it is the cities of Arizona who are effectively making the decision on who will ultimately get a dispensary license rather than DHS. Here are some choice statements from Mr. Sobol’s letter:

“Although the AZDHS rules are ambiguous and do not specifically require Zoning approval at the first stage of the application process, nevertheless, the Rose Law group has been aggressively pursuing Zoning Approval for their clients. Do they know something that nobody else does? Is Mr. Humble’s final rules going to interpret the current ambiguous rules to mean that you do indeed need ZONING APPROVAL? It is hard to imagine that a State Agency could not have done a better job promulgating their rules, if that was truly their intention.”

“We hereby demand that Mr. Humble immediately clarify his position regarding Zoning Approval with respect to the initial Application process; Is Zoning Approval a requirement or NOT? If zoning approval is a requirement we further demand that the Health Department extend the time for applicants to submit their Dispensary applications. The extended time should be sufficient for all applicants to seek and obtain local Zoning Approval, in any event no less than 60 additional days.”

“we adamantly oppose the requirement that Applicants obtain Zoning approval prior to submission of the initial application. If the Health department requires such zoning approval they are in fact deferring their authority under Title 36 to select the Dispensary licensees to local zoning boards. Under this scenario the Health Department could only consider applicants who were approved by local zoning boards, precluding all others.”

I agree with each of the three statements made above.

Rule R9-17-303.B.5 says the application for a dispensary license must be accompanied by:

“A sworn statement signed and dated by the individual or individuals in R9-17-301 certifying that the dispensary is in compliance with local zoning restrictions

Unfortunately the zoning rules do not explain what it means for “the dispensary is in compliance with local zoning restrictions.” There are two schools of thought on the meaning:

  1. The applicant can make the zoning affirmation if the dispensary site is properly zoned and not too close to a prohibited structure or area.
  2. The applicant can make the zoning affirmation if the application has filed the necessary paperwork with the city and obtained whatever magical city zoning paperwork is required to ultimately operate a medical marijuana dispensary at the site such as a use permit, a variance or a note from the mayor’s mommy saying she really really likes one of the owners of the applicant (I made up the last item).

Ryan Hurley, a zoning attorney with the Rose Law Group was a speaker at a March 3, 2011, seminar sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona.  Ryan said he thought Rule R9-17-303.B.5 meant choice #2.  After the seminar I asked Tom Salow of the DHS if he agreed with Ryan Hurley about the zoning affirmation and he said no – he interpreted the rule to mean choice #1.  Unfortunately it is no legal significance what either Ryan Hurley or Tom Salow think the rule means.  What is important is WHAT DOES THIS RULE ACTUALLY MEAN?  See “Must My Dispensary Obtain a Conditional Use Permit from the City before it can File an Application for an Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensary License?

DHS needs to clairfy the meaning of the rule.  I hope that the third and hopefully final draft of the rules due March 28, 2011, will clarify this point and make it clear that the applicant need only affirm that its site is properly zoned and not too close to a prohibited structure or area.  It is just stupid and a waste of everybody’s resources for multiple applicants for the one license within a CHAA to go through the actual zoning process and get city zoning approval before the applicant wins the lottery.

Mr. Sobol makes a valid point that the current chaos created by the DHS rules, the CHAAs and local zoning is in effect allowing the zoning authorities to determine who can apply for a license for an Arizona medical marijuana dispensary.  The cities are the gate keepers who decide who gets a site and who doesn’t.  If the rules mean that an applicant for a dispensary license must get city zoning approval before being able to affirm that the site zoning is groovy then the cities are, in fact, selecting which would-be dispensaries will get a dispensary license within their jurisdictions.  This is contrary to Arizona’s medical marijuana laws, which require that DHS determine who gets a dispensary license.

I suggest all would-be dispensaries and their owners to send a letter to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble and ask him to change the rules to clarify that the affirmation of zoning means only that the site is properly zoned and not too close to a prohibited structure or area.  Send your letter to Will Humble, Director, Arizona Department of Health Services, 150 N. 18th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85007.

March 14th, 2011|Legal Issues, Stories & Articles, Zoning|Comments Off|

Alan Sobol’s Excellent March 1, 2011, Letter to Will Humble

What follows below is the text of a March 1, 2011, letter from Alan Sobol and the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professional, Inc., to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble.  Alan asks that DHS immediately clarify two huge problems that almost all prospective dispensaries face:

  • The requirement of Proposition 203 and the Arizona Department of Health Services rules that the application for a dispensary license show the actual address of the dispensary.
  • Confusion in the rules as to whether all owners of the dispensary must meet the Arizona residency requirement.

I agree with Alan on all three issues.  It’s a landlord and zoning zoo out there for prospective dispensaries, but it doesn’t have to be.  Rather than have 5,000 would be dispensaries scramble to tie up 5,000 sites, file 5,000 zoning applications, pay 5,000 city and county zoning fees and have cities and counties waste their scarce and valuable resources processing 5,000 zoning applications, the DHS rules should provide that prospective dispensaries be required to list on its application the actual location of the dispensary after they obtain a dispensary registration certificate, but before they apply for their final inspection necessary to obtain the license.

Under the current rules 5,000 prospective dispensaries are all competing for the limited number of sites that meet local zoning requirements.  The result is landlords can charge higher rent because the demand is much bigger than the supply of properly zoned sites.  Yesterday somebody told me that there are only two properly zoned sites in Surprise and one is leased and the other is in foreclosure.  It makes no sense for any prospective dispensary to waste its time and resources and the time and resources of a city or county zoning department unless the dispensary has obtained a dispensary registration certificate.  Require dispensary applicants to disclose the location of their sites and affirm the zoning only after they win the lottery and get a dispensary registration certificate.

Alan’s third issue is valid.  In my February 18, 2011, letter to Will Humble I suggested that the rules be amended to clarify that all eligibility requirements for any principal officer and director be expanded to include apply to all owners.

Here’s Alan Sobol’s March 1, 2011, letter.  DHS please listen and help.

March 1, 2011

Arizona Department of Health Services
Office of the Director:
150 North 18th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

RE: Open letter To Director Humble.  The Market Place is in Chaos, Please help!!

Dear Mr. Humble

I am writing to you at the request of the members of the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals, (AADP). With over 6100 members we are the largest trade association of its kind in the State of Arizona. Collectively, we represent the largest percentage of Dispensary applicants in Arizona. Upon information and belief we have at least one member/applicant in almost every AZDHS CHAA.

We are writing to you regarding our great concern for the current chaotic market conditions across the State of Arizona. We adamantly believe these conditions are a direct result of the confusion unintentionally caused your agency.

March 2nd, 2011|Legal Issues, Stories & Articles|Comments Off|

Arizona Law may Allow Marijuana in Some Parks

Arizona Republic:  “A loophole in the state’s new medical-marijuana law could open thousands of neighborhood parks, playgrounds, greenbelts and artificial lakes to resident joint smokers, legal experts [the reporter quotes non-lawyer Alan Sobol] say.  The law approved by Arizona voters in November prohibits marijuana smoking “in any public place,” but properties controlled by homeowners associations are considered private property.”

My opinion is this story is much ado about nothing written by a reporter who does not understand the difference between a “public place” and “private property.”  Yes, homeowners associations’ common areas are on private property, but that does not mean that the common areas are not public places.  Certainly the common areas are used by a restricted segment of the population, but nevertheless, the common areas are public places as to the members of the association and their invitees.  An Arizona court could rule in the future that common areas of an HOA are not public places for the purposes of Arizona’s medical marijuana law, but I doubt a court would come to that conclusion.

See “Medical Marijuana in Community Associations – A Smoking Hot Issue.”

February 6th, 2011|Real Estate Issues, Stories & Articles|Comments Off|

What is the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association?

Something called the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association” (AzMMA) has gotten a lot of publicity in the Phoenix area ostensibly as an Arizona medical marijuana support group, but it is not clear what the AzMMA is or if it even exists.  In December a lot of people, including me, attended a four hour talk presented by the AzMMA on Arizona’s Proposition 203 and the new medical marijuana law.  The AzMMA charged me an admission fee of $300.

I checked the Arizona Corporation Commission’s database today and found that there is no entity formed in Arizona called the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association.  On October 10, 2010, a firm called Suzette M. Brown, PC, PO Box 11528, Glendale, Arizona 85308, apparently filed Articles of Organization for a limited liability company to be called the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, LLC.”  However, this company has not yet been approved and does not currently exist.  The Arizona Corporation Commission says that there is a potential conflict with an entity name reservation for the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Corporation” obtained by Curtis A. Shelton on October 19, 2010.

A bigger problem, however, for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, LLC, is that Arizona Revised Statutes Section 29-602.A.2 prohibits an Arizona limited liability company from having the word “association” in its name.  If the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association wants to be an Arizona entity, it must form a corporation.  Curtis Shelton currently has first dibs to the name until his name reservation expires on February 17, 2011.

What I cannot tell from the record is if either of the above Arizona Corporation Commission filings were for our beloved, but non-existent Arizona Medical Marijuana Association manned by Andrew Myers and Joe Yuhas.  Is their AzMMA the third group that wants what apparently is a very popular name?

There is a website at www.azmma.org that apparently is a website for the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, but there is no there there.  This site lacks meaningful content and consists of a single page with a small amount of text.  The homepage states:

“During its formative stage, the AzMMA invites you to participate in our organizational efforts.”

This statement is apparently total BS.  On December 27, 2010, and every day for the next three days I called Joe Yuhas who the newspapers say is the AzMMA man.  I wanted to discuss a very disturbing statement that one of my clients attributed to Mr. Y about the proposed Arizona Department of Health Services rules.  Despite leaving daily messages for four days asking Joe to call me, he blew me off and to this date has not returned my call.  In practicing law in Arizona for 31 years, I don’t ever remember calling somebody that many times and not getting the courtesy of a call back.

Why do Myers and Yuhas continue to say they are involved with a non-existent entity?  Who are the members of this non-existent entity?  Are there any members besides Myers and Yuhas?  Where are its offices?  The January 7, 2011, cover letter Andrew Myers sent to Will Humble with the AzMMA’s comments to the first draft of the rules does not have an address or phone number for Myers or the AzMMA.  Does anybody care? Myers letter refers to the leadership of AzMMA, but who are its leaders and why is their identity not made public?

If the leadership of this want-a-be organization cannot form an Arizona entity for their group and if the group does make its address and phone number and leadership public, why do Myers and Yuhas have what appears to be a very close relationship with Will Humble and the Arizona Department of Health Services and why does the media give Myers and the AzMMA so much press and credibility?  Just yesterday Will Humble and Andrew Myers were interviewed simultaneously on Phoenix’ National Public Radio affiliate.  What a co-inky-dink!  Read about and listen to the February 4, 2011, radio interview at “Will Humble & Andrew Myers on KJZZ Radio.”

P.S.  Alan Sobol and his Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals also are not happy with the AzMMA.  See “Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Declares War on Arizona Department of Health Services, Marijuana Policy Project & the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association.”  Beware of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Corporation and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, LLC and a semi-secret club that really likes those names!

February 5th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off|

Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals Threatens to Sue Phoenix Over Its Pre-registration Zoning Procedure

Alan Sobol and the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals are claiming that the City of Phoenix zoning department has been up to no good.  Here is the text of a January 31, 2011, email message I received from Alan Sobol and the Consiglieri Group:

We have uncovered a scheme to defraud Dispensary Applicants in the City of Phoenix. Phoenix recently implemented a Pre-registration scheme fraught with Cronyism, Nepotism, Favoritism and Abuse of Authority.  To read the complaint click here: (seed2success.com/phxcomplaint.html).  We have exposed the truth, now we need to wait and see what the mayor will do. If you were planning to file for zoning approval in the City of Phoenix I urge you to contact the city and let them know what you think about this.  mayor.gordon@phoenix.gov  If you have any questions or comments please contact me at Marijuanamarketing@gmail.com

Thanks,

Al Sobol

Read the Press Release found at the above link.  AZADP alleges that Phoenix instituted its medical marijuana zoning pre-registration without legal authority because pre-registration is not provided for in the zoning ordinance G-5573 adopted by the Phoenix CIty Council.  Quotes from the Press Release:

Notice of Intent to Commence Legal Action:  City of Phoenix Initiates Illegal Pre-registration of Potential Marijuana Sites:  Allegations of Fraud, Cronyism, Nepotism, Favoritism and Abuse of Authority

It appears from the evidence that the City’s “pre-registration” program was solely intended to provide certain influential entities preferential treatment with respect to the selection of their medical Marijuana Business locations.

January 31st, 2011|Stories & Articles, Zoning|Comments Off|

Alan Sobol Questions Propriety of Phoenix Planning & Zoning

On January 23, 2011, I received an email from Alan Sobol and the Consiglieri Group that raises some interesting questions about alleged conduct by the City of Phoenix with respect to “pre-registration of dispensary” locations.  The following is the text of Alan’s message:

“Nepotism at Phoenix City Hall?

January 17 2011, without any notice, twelve people lined up at Phoenix City Hall to reserve their Dispensary Locations. Without any public notice the City of Phoenix rolled out their “Pre-Registration Program”,. According to the City officials, the program was intended to allow individuals to reserve a site for medical marijuana dispensary, cultivation or infusion facilities within the City of Phoenix. The problem, zoning officials had no authority to offer such pre-registration services. The Phoenix City Council adopted Ordinance G5573( the Marijuana zoning ordinance) on December 15, 2010. Nowhere contained therein was there a provision for such pre-registration services. The city violated its own public information rules.

Perhaps the more important question is who are these twelve people that showed up to register their marijuana facility locations, and how did they find out about this program? Hmmm!

But don’t worry, we are conducting an extensive investigation into this matter and will take appropriate action should we find evidence of wrongdoing.

We urge those of you who are considering locating your facility in Phoenix to immediately visit the Phoenix website and download this pre-registration form. (Phoenix.gov/planning). We would also suggest that you keep apprised of any such pre-registration services that might pop-up in other cities or towns. We will shortly be posting a link on our website to all Arizona City and Town websites. As always if you have any questions feel free to contact us.”

January 24th, 2011|Stories & Articles, Zoning|Comments Off|

Alan Sobol & Andrew Meyer Speak at the Same NORML Event

I got an email message from The Consiglieri Group on January 16, 2011, that contained the following from Alan Sobol about his close encounter of the third kind with Andrew Meyer at a NORML meeting in Tucson where both men had been invited to speak.  I’m sure Alan was hoping to start the debate with Andrew that Alan asked for recently, but alas, it didn’t happen.  Here’s what Alan wrote:

As you may recall I challenged MPP Manager , Andrew Meyer to a debate last week.  So far no response.

However, I did have the opportunity to bump into Mr. Meyers last Saturday at the Tucson Norml meeting.  Meyer’s did not know that I was asked to speak.  According to the Norml president Jon,   in order to give balance to the meeting both Meyers and me were invited to speak.  Mr. Meyer was obviously shaken to  learn of the dual speaking event. During Meyer’s presentation he admitted that he was working with the Health Department  through “third party agencies” to develop the rules. He repeately  referred to the  rule making progress as, “WE ARE” working on the rules”.  But the most shocking revelation was Meyer’s admission that he now believed that my original idea of a “two step” application process was the appropriate way to administer the approval process.

Immediately after his presentation Meyer rudely and hurrily  exited the building apparently  so as not to be confronted with any attendee questions regarding my presentation.
Meyer and I had no direct communication except  for the finger I received from his lady friend Ms. Tea  as they ran from the building.

I believe that on January 31, 2011 when the AZDHS releases their revised  proposed rules  we will see a more reasonable application process. I further believe that as a direct result of the thousands of comments received from all of you, the AZDHS will be forced to moderate their rules.  want to encourage all of you to continue with your business plans, whatever they may be. Don’t loose the opportunity to become involved in this new industry, simply because you do not have enough time to get it finished.  Keep moving forward prudently.

Thanks for all your support, and keep fighting,

Allan Sobol
Marijuana Marketing strategies, LLC

January 19th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off|

Alan Sobol Challenges Andrew Meyer to a Verbal Duel

I got an email message from The Consiglieri Group on January 10, 2011, in which Alan Sobol is asking Andrew Meyers of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association to debate him.  Here’s the text of the challenge:

“The Challenge: Allan Sobol Vs. MPP Local Manager Andrew Meyer.   OPEN CHALLENGE TO ANDREW MEYER.  2 hour Debate/discussion on the contested issues concerning the implementation of the new Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.   Paid conference hall meeting with all proceeds going to AZDHS to offset the cost of applications for low income qualifying patients.  Lets See if Mr, Meyers will respond.”

I’d like to attend, but I’m guessing Mr. Meyer will not accept the challenge.

January 10th, 2011|Stories & Articles|Comments Off|