"We did not stop working after the law passed," she says.

Neither did her allies Brewer and Horne.


Garry Ferguson vowed to continue helping
patients obtain medical marijuana after
his Tempe "business" was raided by Gilbert police on June 16.
Jamie Peachey
Garry Ferguson vowed to continue helping patients obtain medical marijuana after his Tempe "business" was raided by Gilbert police on June 16.
Compassion clubs offer edibles to
patients who prefer not to smoke.
Jamie Peachey
Compassion clubs offer edibles to patients who prefer not to smoke.

Arizona's never seen a business quite like the Arizona Compassion Club. The club operates out of offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa — and representatives say more locations are coming soon. In the suite at 2701 East Thomas Road, the strong smell of marijuana greets visitors.

This is just one of the front lines in Brewer and Horne's war. As it's turning out, the state leaders' actions have had an unintended consequence: They've given a boost to caregiver cooperatives and patient clubs, seemingly proving that the opposition can't really fence in Arizona's marijuana law.

The compassion club on Thomas Road isn't fancy. It's a low-budget, but professional-looking, place where qualified Arizona patients can obtain pot. Inside the small waiting area are a few chairs and a flat-screen TV showing medical-pot-themed videos. A glass panel, covered with posters listing strains of marijuana and what ailments each strain may be best for treating, separates another room that's furnished minimally with two folding tables. In this room, staff members meet with patients to discuss the club's rules and to distribute marijuana.

The club helps a patient-advocacy group, the Arizona Cannabis Society, distribute "free" marijuana to patients, as state law apparently allows. Available medicine includes ready-to-smoke buds, marijuana-infused foods, and tinctures made from pot plants. Unlike at dispensaries in other states, marijuana isn't displayed on shelves.

Nick Monte introduces himself as one of the main staff members at Arizona Compassion Club. He and another club member, Bill Hayes of the Cannabis Society, explain how the club has managed to stay open since April without police interference: It all comes down to ARS 36-2811, a codified portion of the Marijuana Act that prohibits legal prosecution or any penalties for possession and transfer of less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana between caregivers or qualified patients. Under the provision, nothing of value can be transferred in exchange for marijuana.

Members pay a small fee when they join, then make donations that entitle them to receive marijuana from the club. The concept may appear to be a thinly disguised sales scheme, in that patients often leave the club offices with pot and less money. However, operators are confident that they're operating within the legal boundaries of the new law.

"Someone [had] to step up to the plate," Monte says. "There are plenty of patients out there in need."

Monte and other staff members won't allow anyone without a state registration card to join the club; they also scrutinize every membership card with a black light that makes a hidden hologram glow. Hayes says he advised the club to refuse any patient who didn't appear "100 percent legitimate."

Hayes says, "We work other jobs — we're volunteers [at the club]."

Staff members wear their own state registration cards on lanyards around their necks, in part as protection in case police barge in. This hasn't happened yet. Uniformed cops have been in the Thomas Road suite for alarm calls and to see what was going on, Monte says, but they have taken no action toward shutting down the suite.

The club claims about 700 members who have maladies ranging from cancer to the most common qualifying ailment, "chronic and severe pain." Pot-friendly doctors refer patients to the club, and, conveniently, one doctor-recommendation business is in an adjoining suite. Monte says the club also receives referrals from drug-rehabilitation centers, whose clinicians see legal pot as a way to wean addicts off heroin and other hard drugs.

Without the club, its member patients would have a harder time getting their marijuana. Now, instead of fueling the black market or Mexican drug cartels, they're obtaining marijuana that probably was grown locally. Apparently, some members of the pot club and affiliated advocacy group started growing marijuana after the law passed but before state registration cards became available in April. It's questionable whether that early start was legal under the law, but they believe they have legal cover because Brewer signed the Marijuana Act in late November.

Sobol, who opened a similar club on July 4, says he "doesn't need to know" where a separate association that fills his club members' needs gets its marijuana. But he notes that a caregiver who also is a card-carrying patient can grow up to 72 plants legally and that might create a lot of "excess" medicine that can then be legally donated to other patients.

However it arrived, the marijuana is available, and legal patients are helping themselves to it with or without state-approved dispensaries. Compassion clubs and caregiver cooperatives, managed by advocates willing to deal with the risks of federal prosecution, appear to be the wave of the future.

When New Times asked the Phoenix Police Department its thoughts on the new clubs, spokesman Steve Martos said the PPD has no official opinion but is checking into the Phoenix operations.

Presumably, this means that the department is sending in undercover cops to see whether the clubs are doing something illegal.

"I'm not worried," Monte says. "We're not doing anything wrong. We're just trying to provide a service to patients."

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68 comments
babosoff30
babosoff30

With medical marijuana dispensaries on hold until lawmakers can decide if they’re in violation of federal law, pot clubs have been popping up around Arizona, bringing together card-carrying medical marijuana patients to share private supplies of marijuana. Now, these clubs are coming under legal scrutiny.

MMJ HOMELESS
MMJ HOMELESS

Now the mmj issue was thrown in my face since the park owner of rancho reata senior mobile home park has posted a notice at the park that all mmj users will be evicted since we agreed to a crime free zone when we moved in and since we smoke even with my card and medical issues...we are involved in a criminal enterprise by using this voter approved medicine so now the want to charge a huge deposit to move it (not to mention cost of moving it....) you know that leaves it wide open to put us all out on the streets and are doing as we speak...only for not wanting to feel sick and steal our mobiles because we obeyed the law and got a card..so now I've lost my house, job, possesions, and moved to az... and then due to health and economy......filed bankruptcy .....scrape together money for a mobile......and now some park owner is taking it because I complied with the law did the right thing and will soon be living in my car....due to this mmj issue and "IM PISSED" IS THIS WHAT OUR COUNTRY BECOME...THE LEFT SAYS WATCH OUT WHILE THE RIGHT ROBS US BLIND AND THEN THEY TAKE TURNS.....WHAT DO YOU WANT..... MY LIFE...I'M DYING AS FAST AS I CANGOD FORBID I USE SOMETHING TO MAKE ..IT TOLERABLE.......

SOON TO BE HOMELESS

THIS MENTALITY IS...........SOON COMING TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD IT IN MINE

Farrok
Farrok

When is this stupid dung ever going to stop. The police attacking the sick and dying? Arizona's bitch governor and her @ss hole friend Horne can go to hell........................

rachel
rachel

These fools have thier brains upside down..they should go after all these shops selling the so called synthetic marijuana !!IIts getting out of hand, i recall a friend working in such a store telling me thay sell around seven hundred capsules or whatever it is (spice) in a week!!.guys go stop the artificial crap rather than harrasing people who want to get it the legit way for legit reasons.....

Raven
Raven

I'm a card holder, I suffer from Fibromyalgia and extreme anxiety disorder, this past weekend one of Sheriff Joe's boys pulled me and my boyfriend over because our truck was smoking. He claimed he smelled marijuana, and told us to get out the car. I was not driving. I showed him my card and the little bud and pipe I had on me. He kept us there for an hour while he argued on his phone with someone. When he came back he was pissed because someone at the County Attorney's office had told him he could not arrest me for possesion. He then ranted at us for another 15 minutes that it's still illegal for me to possess it, it's not, because he said,"This isn't a law because of the block that our fine Governor has filed," and that I was lucky he wasn't arresting me, which he couldn't. He then left taking with him my bud and pipe and my boyfriends pocket knife. I was left with no proof of this stop and when I called they said they had no record of the stop. Ignoranced is not only rampant in our police departments but it is encouraged.

narizona
narizona

Brewer get up and smell the flowers, it might help your condition!!!!!!!

Toasgardwefly
Toasgardwefly

so are people really free in this piece of shit country???jesus fuckin christ the u.s. gov't loves to fuck with everyone and thanks to them this country will never recover!!!!!!

jackharrington
jackharrington

The reactionary Conservative Clowns in this story are fighting a law their constituents voted FOR, and subsequently, IN THE MAJORITY, support...So much for doing things legally, on the up and up...

Chance Steven Joseph Morales
Chance Steven Joseph Morales

what a bunch of idiots cops in riot gear and ski masks and guns for one ounce of weed...one. gilbert police get a life. this is ridiculous...i would love for other police officers to do the same to those gilbert cops for any prescription drugs they might be allowed to have. it makes me depressed to be an american when i hear things like this and wonder how free this country really is. also i would like all police officers to ask them selves if they are peace keepers or law enforcements agents.

Royalphoenix2
Royalphoenix2

TOO many guns and badges and the authority to use both in this state. Most of the guns and badges in this state are pathetic morons, who think they are the law, instead of enforcing the law. Sue the shit out of them. peace

phxreguy
phxreguy

The dispensary model is simply wrong. It creates middle man legal drug dealers who are legitimized because they got leases, paid fees and hired lawyers. Oh- like Wall Street!

Instead, lets just allow patients grow their own. This takes drug dealers out of the discussion.

Display Name
Display Name

Dennis Burke will not be able to dodge the ATF gun scandal much longer. There will be a vacancy soon at the Phonix USA office.Jan Brewer will read this story eating her corn flakes soaked in McCormicks Scotch, and she will dig her heels in for another expensive tax funded fight...and just shrug her shoulders when she loses and the 1 million dollar tab is paid by all of us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Anthony Mark Previte
Anthony Mark Previte

I canceled Direct TV as well, but for unrelated reasons... mostly due to incompetence. Speaking of which... since the government can't get it's act together one-way or another... Federal OR State.... Everybody get their card's, get some seed's and grow you're own and let the government do what it does so well... Spin in endless circles. A simple effective plan if you ask me!

Montebjorn
Montebjorn

I for one am shocked that the spineless big talk and not a protest scheduled. I've not heard of one. In the eyes of the radical right your are a bunch of loser stoners that can't organize. Or can't find your way out through the smoke. Who will inspire the almost a million voters that have once again been quietly been subverted. I'll take some time out of my day and make a sign. Send me a tweet @monte bates

Arizona Dispense
Arizona Dispense

A movement does not live in the Arizona Revised Statutes, but laws do. Our state defines medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation sites but the Carolyn Short cartel is holding up the implementation. Over 841,000 Arizonans voted for the proposition. For those who do not believe in democracies, there are other countries besides America to live in.

Really?
Really?

Who cares if the opposition meet with Horne or anyone else for that matter! Isn't that what you're suppose to do when you advocate for an issue? You meet with community members, elected officials, and anyone else that'll listen. If this was remotely an issue we need to turn to Humble which paid a special favor to his law group buddies and gave the pro-drug people a special "partnership breakfast meeting." Or when Mr. Humble went on MPR with Andrew Meyer; yet he should remain neutral...hummm! If anything we should be looking at Humble and pro-drug lobby working together...Mr. Stern, why was that never mentioned? This article seems to be quite one sided!

Samson
Samson

I think its pretty silly to make this out like its a huge violation of civil rights. Granted there are some really sick patients out there who could benefit from MMJ, a majority would be normal people with no ailments going to the many mills that certify for a few hundred bucks. If you want legalization just be upfront, theres no need to use terminally ill people to get your agenda across. Right now its really all about making a quick buck. Allan Sobol's "club" offers 8ths for $75, and you're telling me its about compassion? Scrap the law and push for full legalization without dragging cancer patients through the mud.

Kari
Kari

So... the state's already made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling these cards that are now worthless? Then they'll be giving refunds, right? Oh, of course not. Obama's flip flopping is, unfortunately, predictable.

Can who ever caters their next tax-payer funded dinner do me a huge favor? Slip them some pot brownies or hash tartar so they can see they too were victims of the propaganda machine (and hopefully chill the hell out just a bit) and we can all move on. Prohibition failed miserably, but obviously the government was a little smarter then as it didnt last quite as long.

Narcotics raid . . . what is this, the 1930s?

420bulldog
420bulldog

Screw the direct tv guy and screw the officer that said "i don't even know if you are supposed to have this card", no ish that is between the doctor and the patient, swat isn't who decides who gets a card!

Rumbum18
Rumbum18

So funny I haven't paid direct TV last 2 months fuk them snitches

Ceo Azcs
Ceo Azcs

The Compassion Clubs and Co-op's are here folks and we aren't going anywhere!With groups like our educating those in the industry as well as offering free "rights assertion" classes for the public we hope to take this fight to their doorstep!! We had tried to supply NT with photo's of local patient and caregiver grow op's but the media has everyone scared again. Enough is enough. The more transparent we are and the more we educate each other, the faster this failed "drug war" will end! So in light of Ray's article we have moved our GRAND OPENING at Alma School and the 202 loop to this Monday coming up, the 18th. Arizona Cannabis Society will be giving out truly FREE marijuana to the first 100 prop-203 card holders that come in the club to sign up.

It's time we show Arizona just what "Compassion" is all about. We have assisted other groups in starting their own Compassion Clubs, people like Monte and Ferguson have all consulted with AZCS as did Al Sobol just before the opening of the 2811 Club. They all had great ideas but they just needed a little guidance to stay ARS 28.1 compliant and all of them will now do well with their business models. However, this Monday we will be opening our Compassion Center and it is like nothing you have seen so far Arizona. From pre-rolled cones to pre-rooted clones, medication to education, paraphernalia from local glass blowers to edible mmj treats from culinary arts professionals across the valley, we have everything you need to medicate safely and responsibly Arizona!! Imitation is often referred to as the "highest form of flattery", come see why we are often imitated but will never be duplicated!!Arizona Cannabis Society, Arizona's premier medical marijuana advocacy and mmj services center is about to show AZ how its done!!

http://www.facebook.com/phoeni...

Ted
Ted

Seems as though Carolyn Short and her anti-pot crew could be civilly sued for "causing needless ongoing pain and suffering" or legal terminology similar to those medical marijuana patients who paid for their registration and card, but are unable to acquire medical pot because of the interference of Short and her fundamentalist crew in the operation of currently legal state government processes. A thousand or so claims for damages in the hundreds of thousands of dollars won by the plaintiffs would probably set her back a bit. Ms. Short seems quite willing to provide the New Times with documentary evidence of that interference. I am not an attorney, but it seems to me that patients could and should use tort law against these people who would nullify the will of voters!

words
words

Ray, Hash is legal - as are the edibles.

Just check ARS 36-2801

15. "Usable marijuana" means the dried flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds, stalks and roots of the plant and does not include the weight of any non-marijuana ingredients combined with marijuana and prepared for consumption as food or drink."

Gray Race
Gray Race

It's never a surprise to me that Gilbert PD would raid medical marijuana patient home because they never have anything else better to do. They swarm like flies all over the city pulling people over for stupid shit like not using the 2 second rule at a complete stop, and love giving out tickets. Everybody I know get along with Mesa, Chandler, and even Tempe PD but can't stand Gilbert PD because of bullshit like this raid. Why do you think there is a Facebook page of I hate Gilbert Cops and its because of this.

Coz
Coz

Fuck Brewer and Horne, who elected these assholes any way...oh that's, the dumb ass voters of Arizona where your votes means absolutely nothing unless they want it to.

RetiredArmy
RetiredArmy

I'd say Carolyn Short's daughter is on meth because Carolyn Short is her mother and she's rebelling the fact that her mother is a control freak and an ass hole.

63mlya
63mlya

Agreed. This actually makes it a lot easier. If all registered patients were to grow there own pot, then we can actually have a system where profit is not being made. We grow our own since we are allowed to, we then trade it with other patients other strains of pot, goods or services and not cash leaving the dispenaries and state out of the picture. At the same time our paranoid legislature doesn't have to worry about state workers getting arrested. I don't think it's illegal to barter in this state, and the feds aren't going after the patients, only large scale growers and distributors. By doing this problem would be solved. Of course the incident in Gilbert may lead us to think otherwise. We have to understand that the state legislator has no interests in appeasing the voters of this state. Bill Montgomery was openly calling Medical Marijuana patients a bunch of stoners in the AZ republic ( todays letter to the editor), showing his true ignorance and bias in this bill to begin with. I have lived in Texas, and AZ is a lot more backwards than Texas ever was.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

I've been SCREAMING this at the New Times for months and they just want to critisize the Gov and the AG. That dispensary part of the law was bad and put in just to satisfy the phamaceutical drug industry (dispensaries might become pharmacies in the future).

Hemp/Cannabis/Sativa is a weed. It is easy to grow. Granted more exotic strains are complicated, but for just plain every day medicine - it's a weed - it grow like a weed. It requires very little knowledge or effort to grow and cultivate. Stop trying to make people rich

Grinnin2
Grinnin2

Apparently you posted on the wrong thread. Wow. So off topic. And, you aren't the boss of me. I'll get my TV from whoever I choose. Get a life. Recall Jan Brewer. Friggin beotch.

rick r
rick r

Except the fact that we were able to get it legalized. yeah good one buddy.

Arizona Dispense
Arizona Dispense

We sponsored that breakfast. It was about the law being implemented and the rules that the Arizona DHS developed for the dispensary application process. Stop drug smugglers from importing marijuana and cocaine across the border, shut down meth labs, impede the resale market of prescription drugs and the recreational use of anxiety meds among our populace. We follow the law. Those impeding medical marijuana are in the way of state law. So really?

Frontera
Frontera

Your side is trying to break the law and deserve to be in jail .Thwarting the will of the voters for third time since 96.Federal courts have already ruled in favor of states right to enact own drug laws vs Fed. controlled substance act . This includes all medical marijuana laws.With supreme court refusing to hear. END OF STORY.... SAN DIEGO CO. VS CALIF.

RetiredArmy
RetiredArmy

If you don't think that the war on drugs isn't a war on ALL citizens civil liberties then you need to wake up and start paying attention. If adult citizens of this country do not have the right to decide what substances they ingest in their body in the privacy of their homes then what rights do they really have?

Coz
Coz

Great idea

Albert
Albert

I’ve pointed out this before as well. "Usable marijuana" means the dried flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof Or 36-2811 sec D, 1,2,3 No person may be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty… 2-Being in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of marijuana as authorized under this chapter. 3-Assisting a registered qualifying patient with administering marijuana as authorized by this chapter. (Doesn’t state Caregiver either)

The decision by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis reversed an Arkansas federal judge's ruling..."Thus, the primary question ... is whether Arkansas law permits a police officer to arrest a person for refusing to identify himself when he is not suspected of other criminal activity and his identification is not needed to protect officer safety or to resolve whatever reasonable suspicions prompted the officer to initiate an ongoing traffic stop. We conclude it does not," the court said.The court also said the state trooper did not have qualified immunity from the lawsuit under state statute.Qualified immunity protects public officials "from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have," the court said, adding that the trooper "acted contrary to the plain meaning" of the state statute.This is something I found about police that take their power too far and violate the law. No immunity….

Albert
Albert

Is it illegal to not stop at a private driveway when entering onto a city street? I didn’t think cities could enforce a stop sign- that was not city planned and approved or on private property.

J Curwen
J Curwen

If I were her kid I'd be on heroin.

Guest
Guest

Dispensaries ARE needed by patients who are trying the Medicinal Marahuana for the first time. It is also true enough a "weed" but a LOT of the people who need it are not ABLE to grow it themselves. Growing requires more than just tossing some seeds in the ground and waiting, you are talking about "Medicinal Product" NOT something that you know nothing about its ability to help the patient. ExpertShot, I hope you enjoy, wait, continue to enjoy good health but there ARE those of us out here that aren't so lucky. Just my 2 cents worth!

Quazie
Quazie

Grinnin, did you READ this article??? It was a DIRECTV installer who reported the pot to police that got them the warrant and started this whole thing off. I can't believe someone actually liked your comment. What a clown.

Samson
Samson

I really doubt that all the greens going around the clubs right now were grown here. You can throw around how your "movement" is combating the cartels, but at the end of the day you will get greens in wholesale from whatever seller is fully stocked. Stop making this about some just cause.

cybercy
cybercy

Yes, it is. You have to give right of way to any public street

RetiredArmy
RetiredArmy

Yea I always find it amazing how people like Carolyn Short and Russell Pearce never look inwards too evaluate their own behavior to see if it might be part of their problems. It's always something or someone else who is to blame.

She admits that she keeps recreational drugs (and yes alcohol is just another recreational drug, with very little medicinal value except as a disinfectant) and she runs an organization that claims it's about keeping drugs out of Arizona. What hypocrisy, alcohol kills more people every year than heroin, cocaine, meth and the rest combined. Marijuana on the other hand has been used as a medicine since the dawn of man without a single recorded death. If it's so dangerous, show me the bodies. They can't of course because it's a big lie.

But Carolyn Short wants to make people who use a natural God given plant criminals, locked up in cages like animals, just so she wont have to admit that she may be part of her daughters problems. What sick demented person she must be.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Guest - that is why the law provides for caregivers to help the patient grow their medicine. And yes, it is like throwing the see in the ground and waiting (while watering, trimming buds, etc.). The active ingredient is THC - that will exist in whatever strain or type of cannibas you grow. It doesn't have to be "special" or need expensive equipment. You must be one of those who hope to make money on the dispensaries part of the law. And, before you claim I'm ignorant of the intricacies of growing cannabis - I've been growing it since I was 12 years old and one of my best friends was the curator of the Hemp Museum in Amsterdam for 5 years. I'm no slouch.

The fact is that marijuana is easy to grow, and doesn't have to have a high potency to get a person high, especially if one is using a vaporizer or smoking it. The lungs can only transfer so much THC through to the blood stream and after the process has maxed out, you don't get any higher. Now, if you were to eat it, that would be a different matter. But still, if one has lower potency pot just consume more of it to get the same effect.

People, don't let these hucksters fool you. Grow your own, or have a caregiver grow it for you. Kick these capitalists who want to exploit you to the curb.

RetiredArmy
RetiredArmy

So keeping the sick and dieing people who want the freedom to choose their own health care options out of for profit prisons isn't a just cause? Especially when you consider the fact that Arizona is engaged in a law suit against the Federal Government over this very issue. What kind of sick demented people can hold both the position that they be free from the Federal Government forcing health care on them while wanting to lock up citizens of the state of Arizona for freely choosing their own health care?

Arizona Dispense
Arizona Dispense

A movement does not live in the Arizona Revised Statutes, but laws do. Our state defines medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation sites but the Carolyn Short cartel is holding up the implementation. Over 841,000 Arizonans voted for the proposition. For those who do not believe in democracies, there are other countries besides America to live in.

 
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