By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
The small crowd of courtroom observers grows hushed as the Reverend Allan Sobol takes the stand.
Sobol's mostly bald, with a graying goatee and mustache. He's dressed in a black suit, with a black shirt and no tie. After he's sworn in, Phoenix attorney Paul Conant asks him a few questions about how he became a minister.
"Ten years ago, I had a heart attack," Sobol, 58, explains solemnly. "It was a back-to-Jesus moment."
The line elicits snickers from several observers. Many in the crowd are his detractors and competitors in the medical-marijuana business.
Sobol's testimony in Judge Katherine Cooper's courtroom on July 31 does, in fact, come off as something of a farce.
Sobol's a publicity hound — a marketer and consultant, a licensed private eye, and former document preparer. Dubbed the "Godfather of Pot" by a local reporter, he's the most prominent figure in Arizona's nascent medical-marijuana industry. He obtained his minister's credentials in 2006 from the Universal Life Church, a mail-order company that requires only that applicants fill out a form online — and which occasionally makes the news for ordaining dogs and other pets.
He's testifying in the case of Nature's Healing Center v. Fountain Hills, a wealthy, isolated desert town in the East Valley that's slated to get just one of Arizona's 97 medical-marijuana dispensaries expected to be authorized under a 2010 law.
Nature's Healing Center wanted to be named the only qualified applicant for that medical-marijuana dispensary and sued the town. The thrust of the company's argument, presented by Conant, was that Sobol had a church in office space at 16929 East Enterprise Drive, in the town's commercial district, and that Fountain Hills required any dispensary to be at least 500 feet from a church. While Nature's Healing Center fell outside that radius, except for a sliver of its property, its competitors were well within. The town should not have approved the other companies' zoning applications, Conant argued.
Sobol, who says he has no business deals with any would-be Fountain Hills dispensary, testifies that he had considered retiring and living in the town, and he figured that someday he'd use his credentials to open a church there. Wouldn't you know it — church space was available right away. So, in March, Sobol rented the office space in question.
Under cross-examination by lawyer Jeffrey Kaufman, who represents several of Nature's Healing Center's competitors, Sobol admits his church has only a dozen parishioners, all of whom must supply their own Bibles and all of whom are medical-marijuana cardholders, like him.
Pictures taken through a church window by one of his detractors, a marijuana activist and one of the courtroom observers, show a mostly empty suite.
"His church is full of shit!" spews Ingrid Joiya, co-founder of Elements Caregiver Collective in North Phoenix, during a short break in testimony. "The man is Jewish!"
Whatever his religious beliefs — and, in interviews, Sobol swears he's really a preacher, even supplying New Times with a blurry picture of him behind a pulpit with two people apparently listening — the evidence suggests a tie between Sobol and Nature's Healing Center, founded by medical-marijuana promoter Dr. Bruce Bedrick.
A town planner says Bedrick contacted him about the tax-exempt status of Sobol's church, and records show that Bedrick considered buying the building that the church inhabits. Bedrick tells New Times he can't recall why he contacted the planner and says he and Sobol's interest in the same property merely is coincidence.
Sobol's reverend claim is the latest slap in the face to his competitors: medical-marijuana consultants and would-be dispensary owners and cannabis-club affiliates trying to carve out their own niche in a new Arizona industry. Sobol has antagonized many of them, going so far as to file a court action in March demanding that police raid several cannabis clubs and describing what he called their illegal schemes. The club Sobol opened last year, meanwhile, was raided by Phoenix police in October in what he says was selective enforcement.
Judge Cooper ultimately denied the monopolizing request by Nature's Healing Center and upheld the approval by Fountain Hills of the other would-be dispensaries.
Love him or hate him, Sobol's antics have had serious consequences that pot advocates can't ignore.
It was Sobol who put himself on the radar of police and prosecutors. As the founder of the 2811 Club LLC, where state-qualified patients could obtain their "medicine," Sobol now faces the prospect of going to prison for several years. In 2011, he was hit with 10 felony charges related to suspected illegal distribution of marijuana.
Meanwhile, other clubs — like the one Joiya started — still are open for business.
In other words, this much-maligned pot huckster may end up as Arizona's most prominent medical-marijuana martyr.
The state of medical marijuana in Arizona is messed up.
Governor Jan Brewer partly is responsible for that.
After a thin majority of voters passed Proposition 203 in 2010, Brewer canceled the dispensary portion of the program, claiming that state workers would be prosecuted for administering it. A federal lawsuit she filed in May 2011 was an obvious attempt by the Republican marijuana foe to get the law declared unconstitutional. It failed. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Richard Gama, in examining a lawsuit by would-be dispensary owners, ordered Brewer to implement the program as voters intended.
I think it's time to stop "apologizing" to justify medical marijuana consumption. People feel the need to submit a medical history - Obviously, this is because of the stigma that goes back to the 60's and hippy era. If you use marijuana you are lazy and unwashed! You do not need to have stage 4 cancer and a prosthetic hip implant from 1954 made from balsa wood to justify pot use to the “non believers” !!
My blog site recently conducted an investigation in Los Angeles and watched the FBI spend $4 grand in tax dollars (man hours, informant fees, gasoline, etc) to pursue a $25 dollar bag of weed. Yes, 3.5 grams of cannabis - in a state where it is a non-criminal infraction and fine of $100 bucks.
It's unfortunate that Allan Sobol is the face for the medical marijuana movement in Arizona. He's an obnoxious, greedy, profiteer who has shown us what's wrong with the emerging medical marijuana system. There's always got to be one in the crowd. Allan fights to get his name in the paper, or any type of PR (there's no such thing as bad PR?) to get his name associated with the new movement.
This is only the beginning as the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels and Puerile Pot Clowns begin to destroy the intent and purpose of "medical" marijuana in Arizona.
It took less than 24 months for them to completely destroy the Colorado Medical Marijuana system which had peacefully and privately existed since 2000.
Behold your future, Arizona.
Jan Brewer sticks to medicinal bourbon and can't understand why anyone would want to get high on pot when they could just get drunk like her and her friends.
The law passed by 43 people in 2010. small or large, it passed, and with the voter initiative act of 2000 after Romley denied voters for years their medicine. What is the deal with this corrupt Arizona government? Their actually is a federal law that enables me as a federal disabled ADA patient to acquire my medicine without coercion by anyone other than a federal judge. Anyone else can be detained or arrested for not allowing me to acquire my federal allowed medicine with a card or Medical Examination Need Report.
Now as for this NON-profit church aka "medicine cooperative", what this founder is doing is not the most ethical, but it actually is the right way to run a NoN Profit cooperative by Rochester principles.. The problem the feds have is how the "profits" are distributed among the many local organizations and the release of medical marijuana to non medical card holders, which makes it a federal crime. What gets me mad is the "coercion" he is playing with a law that just got passed and his going after other clubs with the authorities. He is a greedy selfish man named "AS". Throw the book at him!!
I am also sick of Govenor Brewer. She is playing a pick and choose operation in this state! I believe the MMJ law had implemented a order of time that the law was suppose to be implemented and now it is 2 yrs. later and still not running. I also believe that the dispensaries are suppose to be open RIGHT NOW while the ploiticians TRY to dismember the law in court. I hear more lawsuits on individual person/s and state gov.concerning the new law. Is Brewer and gang--"KKK"?
It would make sense with what has been going on in AZ!
why doesnt montgomery and horne mentioned anything about the Voter Protection Act of 2000.....ya, know, the act put in place by "the people" in 2000 in response to the az legislature "voting" to "get rid of" the mmj law passed by az voters in 1998...ya, know the one that states "all initiative passed by the people can only be overturned by a 75% vote of the legislature"...period...not "if i think it applies" not "if i like it or not" and not" fed law,world law,international law"..
remember you took an "Oath of "Office to uphold the ARIZONA constitution and ARIZONA laws, not the US Constitution and federal law....so even if you walk into STATE court, the judge is probally going to ask if you have the legislative votes, not DEA,FBI, fed law this or fed law that...remember under STATE law, prop.203(a voter passed initiative) falls directly under this law and the STATE judge does not care about fed law...that is for fed court not state court system. guys, if you want the initiative gone, just have our state reps vote it out, all you need is a 75% majority, now seee, isnt that easy?...go ahead, have them vote...go on...thats "the law" now isnt it?
Mr. Sobol has made many enemies in the local cannabis community. The cops and prosecutors dislike him as well. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes.
Allan Sobal told me personally he opened that church so his competitors could not open!
What lies he spews.
Also I fought Yavapi country and won with out of state MMJ card.
I helped over 1000 Az patients last year but left Az due to the amazing amount of corruption in Az.
JAN BREWER IS THE DEFINITION OF A NAZI !!!!!!
The Healing Center Medical clinic
"auto-didactic" means you are a smart ass who believes you don't need all that book-lerning to engage in a profession and you are smarter than the professionals themselves. Loots of idiots like that out there.
@tom10545az Meanwhile, up in Colorado voters prepare to vote on flat out legalization. A couple of other states, too, are doing similarly. How you going to deal with that, eh? Happy cerebral infarcts, Republican caucus! Enjoy being on the crappy end of the stick this time, prohibitionists. Might as well get used to it: your time has come and almost gone.
@tom10545az They could, maybe get the legislature to put a repeal vote on the ballot. That, however, might backfire in their arrogant faces. Man up, tea baggers! Put that BS on the ballot and see how far you get.
@thcmc420Is this not your own Dr?
2013-10-04T07:32:02 (6/10/2013) Action Taken: Practice Restriction Allegation of Complaint: Please reference the following Document State: Arizona Documentation: Download here (PDF) http://www.healthgrades.com/media/english/pdf/sanctions/HGPY104BBC3085886983706102013.pdf
@thcmc420 Mike Smith, didn't you leave Arizona because the Arizona medical Board found your Dr grossly incompetent and removed his license to practice medicine in the state? And now you have the same Dr passing out med cards to anyone with $250 in Alaska (for a short time anyway, I have put the wheels in motion to have his right to practice medicine here in Alaska removed too.)
You are a blight on the medical marijuana movement and your only in it for the quick buck you see.
@thcmc420 I don't think I'd goes as far as to describe Brewer as a Nazi. Fascist is probably more accurate.
hows Alaska? Hook me up with a webcam consult for my AK rec. @thcmc420
@SeedyWard Once again, bigotry rears its ugly head. Just like not all liberals are communist / socialist / tree huggers / pro-gay marriage (just look at CA, heavily liberal, yet pro-traditional marriage), not all Republicans / Conservatives want to see marijuana or any other drug criminalized. Many, and I mean many, vote for decriminalization and legalizing when given the choice.
@SeedyWard @tom10545az one more thing, monty and hony(i was going to say horney, but i didnt), in oct the circuit court for D.C.(that is a federal court, ya know) will start hearing on the DEA's having marijuana as a Schedule I drug..this is really going to be fun, with all the studies from "independent" scientist, dr's, etc. from around the world, not to mention sativex is available now or in a country near you soon..
.so its now gonna be....No Medical use in the USA..that outta go over good, or how about "becasue we said so, go to hell with evidence"...i know, you will use about 8-10,000 words to basically same the same thing....but really, you think a federal judge is gonna go along with that, is this country really that far gone?
better hurry up, things are really lookin' bad for y'all, even at the "Federal Law"(your term)...level
if your lookin' to enforce "federal law", why dont you go help the feds in oregon and colorado arrest everybody when it becomes legal in nov.
@SeedyWard Your nasty little Tea Party comment shows your utter ignorance, bigotry and hate. As a TP supporter I fully support complete legalization of pot, decriminalization of drug use, and a litany of other things you liberal bigots think "we" are "all" against. Feel free to keep being an idiot, but stop speaking at or for me or many of my friends, as you simply expose your dimwittery.
alaskahemp.com domain name record
8990 W. Angel Dr.
Wasilla, AK 99623 US
BILL FIKES You have been reported to Alaska state trooper Anderson incident. # ak-13076263
You have been notified to quite HARRASING us and our staff and our doctors. All postings are going directly to our attorney Lance Wells. We are filing a temporary restraining order Monday in anchorage. Due to your threats and being mentally deficient we will ask that your guns be removed from your possession. MARIJUANA IS NOT LEGAL IN ALASKA UNLESS YOU HAVE A STATE ISSUED MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD!
You are a stupid
Sorry not legal by webcam in Az or Ak
@SeedyWard for you & your lib prog friends:
WR Hearst was a Dem. He is the one behind fed MJ prohibition. WR was a greedy liar, fear monger & anti MJ propagandist.
Did I mention Hearst was a DEMOCRAT??? :-)
"With the blessing of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a DEMocrat, Anslinger lead the way into getting the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 passed by a DEMocratic Party majority Congress and signed into law." [Emphasis added. :-)]
Said law was signed by FDR, a DEMOCRAT POTUS.
Above quote from:
Going by your logic, that would mean all Dems are prohibs. But we know better than that, correct?I have never lumped all D's together like you do TEA's & conservatives.
Since you seem to hate the TEA peeps, I guess you oppose the only major 'party' candidate who would would work to RE-legalize herb & hemp, call the feds off CA & pardon all nonviolent 'drug offenders' in the USA. ALL of them!! 0 keeps ALL of them locked up...who are the bad guys again? :-)
Ron Paul is the major 'party' candidate. Full disclosure: Ron is not for USING drugs. He thinks it's a bad idea. As best I can tell, in spite of his personal views, he IS for restoring civil liberties & the ownership of your body back to you. Drugs, prohibition ect for him are subtopics. The main topic is individual freedom & liberty in conjunction with personal responsibility, restoring state rights & the fed govt following the US Constitution.
So what's yer dude doing? By his inactivity to cease the raids, 0 is encouraging the fascist gestapo our militarized police on all levels have become & are becoming. Like I said above, 0 is doing nothing about the CA raids & illegal intervention of the feds into state affairs. Can you support 0 with your vote with out supporting his heavy handed allowance of fed raids on civil liberties in CA?
Just askin. I would think if you are for restoring individual freedom you would like Ron Paul a lot. Go figure...
You are correct. Mitt & P Ryan are more than likely just as bad.
@MrAmazing If it's impossible to know what tea baggers believe, then why do they advertise their bizarre agenda? Furthermore, why would anyone join up with them unless their agenda were easily understood? They don't seem to be the sharpest pencils in the pack.
As far as the disgusting sexual reference, they adopted it before we hanged it on them. The reference had to be explained to the old anachronisms after they were already using it. Only then did they back peddle and get all squeamish.
@Tomato Teabagger is a disgusting sexual reference, so by your own words you expose your bigotry - defined as "a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance".
Thought you might want clarification as you clearly do not know the definition of the word.
@SeedyWard And by definition you prove your bigotry. It is literally impossible to know what most Tea Party members are like or believe, and so your hate speech from the disgusting "tea bagger" to your piss comment continue to expose your rage and hate. Seems the libbies are coming unhinged all over. Sad really, I though y'all had more substance.
@MrAmazing You wouldn't even have the chance to vote on these issues if it weren't for rabble rousers like us. I'll admit bias against the tea baggers, though. Bigotry would be way too strong a word, as I view most tea baggers as ignorant simpletons. Libertarians OTOH, at least think about issues and I respect their point of view. Social conservatives can drink my piss.
Don't you just love it when Teabaggers start calling other people bigots. Look up the word, Mr. Amazing... It's imposible to be a bigot against bigots.
SeedyWard. , well seedy, Mr. Amazing is right.
The meet up groups that became the TEA Party, by a huge margin , support Ron Paul. Ron is an inspiration to us TEA peeps.
Dr. Paul also happens to be in favor of RE-legalizing smoked cannabis & industrial hemp. Ron would pardon all non-violent 'drug offenders' if elected. 0 would NEVER do that. 0 has allowed raids in CA after saying he would ease up.
You should be on 0 & his administration's case, more than the TEA peeps. Not all lib progs are for RE-legalization either.
I am TEA party, fiscal conservative, Christian & Ron Paul supporter. Like Dr. Paul, I advocate for the restoration of the Bill of Rights & that the fed govt should be put back under our Constitution's restrictions..Your boy 0 is just the opposite, so tell us again, who are the bad peeps?
I also advocate, as Dr. Paul, that the war on some drugs be ended. I advocate that all drugs should be re-legalized & run through state dispensaries, no feds at all. There should be councilors for the many street user addicts who want to be free to quit & free from prosecution.
Before any one is allowed to purchase, at lower than cartel prices, their stuff of choice, there should be Consequences Of Use education. Some street drugs are very dangerous, almost as dangerous as Rx concoctions.
Like Dr. Paul said at one of the debates, something along the lines of: "It's not about legalizing heroin! It's about restoring civil liberties!" in a reply to a Fox 'News' dude who was trying to bait & switch the topic.
You are tacitly saying that only TEA peeps & conservatives are for prohibition. Are all the voters in AZ TEA? No. So, going by the thin margin that passed the MMJ law, there are those from all sides that voted against the reform. You cheap shot was not very well thought out.
But that's usually the case for those who follow Rules For Radicals...
Now let us at least unite on the point at hand, please. Thanks.
Not an attack or smear, nor am I posting in anger. I only offer a big correction to your mis-conception.
@MrAmazing unfortunately the tea party is overrun with big government social conservatives who care nothing about my person privacy and my right to liberty inside of my own home.
@SeedyWard I have zero interest in discussing anything with you as your choice of words and attitude give 6 year olds a bad name. It seems nastiness and vitriol are liberal standard bearers and the vast majority of us are beyond sick of your hate and judgment. Making sweeping generalizations about people you do not know is the very definition of bigotry, which is just another kind of hate.
@MrAmazing Face facts: most of your tea bagging buddies are on the other side of the issue. Half of the rest are just waiting for their alleged superiors to tell them what to think. How much pro-cannabis agitation have you seen come from tea bag HQ?
@Cozz Look up the definition of neo-facism. You will find a spot on description of Az conservatism.
@thcmc420 @abcwhocares 2013-10-04T07:32:02 (6/10/2013) Action Taken: Practice Restriction Allegation of Complaint: Please reference the following Document State: Arizona Documentation: Download here (PDF) http://www.healthgrades.com/media/english/pdf/sanctions/HGPY104BBC3085886983706102013.pdf
A bona-Fide relationship is seeing them in person.
Dr failed to check data base when he wrote for pain pills.Stupid mistake NOT A REASON TO LOSE LICENSE
ARIZONA MEDICAL BOARD DOES NOT WANT MMJ THEY WANT YOU TO DIE USING PAIN PILLS...........
THE ARIZONA MEDICAL BOARD ARE
WILL HUMBLE IS A LOSER DRUNK
GOV BREWER IS A UGLY OLD HAG THAT IS DRUNK EVERYDAY
ARIZONA SUCKS GLAD I AM NOT THERE
TWEKER CENTRAL IS WHAT ARIZONA IS?
Use your real name if you expect a reply
No but it looks like Allan did ratting out others in a courtroom so they can not open.
Mike Smith the law man now? You join the police force or something? @thcmc420
Az state law requires a Bona-fide Doctor patient relationship NOT prior medical records.
Learn the law before you spew.
Right. But the reason I asked Mike Smith instead of some other douchebag was because the real Mike Smith doesn't take direction from THE MAN and says fuck the law because patients need protection. Maybe I mistook you for someone else who used to certify patients without any medical records because its the right thing to do. @thcmc420