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The Most-Read Arizona Marijuana Stories of 2020

All-natural, baby.EXPAND
All-natural, baby.
Nathan Freddy
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It was a big year for pot in Arizona. The biggest year, even: As of last month, recreational marijuana is legal in the state. What could be bigger than that?

It’ll be a little while until you can buy weed in the state without a medical card — it's looking like early April right now, though it could be sooner — but in the meantime, here are our 10 most popular pot stories of 2020.

How to Get an Arizona Medical Marijuana Card in Four Easy Steps
We’re cheating a bit with this old chestnut, a perennial piece of service journalism we’ve been republishing since 2013. Hey: People keep reading it. We did augment our medical marijuana card coverage this year with a corollary piece, “How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Without Any Qualifying Conditions,” that illuminated just how easy it is to acquire a card.

Can You Be Fired for Using Medical Marijuana Outside of Work in Arizona? It's Complicated
This January article told the story of a 42-year-old emergency room nurse’s struggle to get an answer as to whether he would face repercussions from his employer, Valleywise Health, for testing positive for cannabis, even if he had an Arizona medical marijuana card. After the piece ran, the nurse filed a lawsuit against Valleywise, seeking a judgment in court that the company's policy was unconstitutional, discriminatory, and in violation of state medical marijuana law.

Clint Eastwood Has Sued a Mesa CBD Company
In July, the chair-scolding Hollywood icon sued a Mesa CBD firm called Patriot Supreme in federal court in Los Angeles, alleging Patriot Supreme and others were using Eastwood’s name to sell their products as part of an "online scam that uses a false, defamatory, and wholly fabricated 'news article' about ... Eastwood."

Patient Charged With Marijuana Possession After Hike on Federal Land
Nathan Freddy, his partner, and their dog (pictured above) took a trip to beautiful Aravaipa Canyon and ended up learning a hard lesson about federal law: Even if you're in a state where medical marijuana is legal, you can't bring the stuff onto Bureau of Land Management property — the feds haven't legalized anything yet.

Arizona Dispensary Firm Gives Away Free Weed to Patients Having Hard Times
In April, as the pandemic really took hold, a Phoenix cannabis cultivation company called Grow Sciences posted a story on its Instagram account asking patients to email them a photo of their patient ID and a brief explanation of why they can’t buy cannabis right now. The patients would then qualify to receive a free quarter-ounce of flower that Grow Sciences called its own “stimulus package.” The stories that came in were heavier than expected. “It got real in a matter of minutes,” Grow Science’s co-owner Mike Cuthriell told us.

Arizona Just Legalized Marijuana — Now What?
Just a few days after voters approved Proposition 207 in November's election, New Times endeavored to answer readers' burning questions about where recreational legalization goes from here.

Arizona Catholic Leaders Oppose Marijuana Legalization, Citing Need to Protect Kids
Prior to the passage of Prop 207, many of the usual anti-pot suspects tried to muster a strong enough defense to defeat it. Among them was the Catholic Church of Arizona, which put out a statement saying legalized weed “sends a message to children that drug use is socially and morally acceptable.” Always concerned about the children, the Catholic Church.

A Dispensary's Ex-Staffers Claim It Ignored Concerns, Violated Laws in Arizona
In May, New Times reported on two former employees of Harvest Health and Recreation who sued dispensary operator, saying it "improperly labeled marijuana products, sold THC-labeled products to nonpatients in a dispensary lobby, and stored marijuana products in a dispensary ceiling," among other violations of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The staffers said they sounded the alarm about the violations but were ignored by management.

Is Arizona's New Medical Marijuana Testing Program About to Cause Shortages?
As a November testing deadline approached, so did concern that a lack of lab capacity could cause a shortage of medical marijuana in the state.

Marijuanopoly: Inside the High Risk, High Reward Game of Arizona's Pot Industry
A longform look at the mechanics of sorta-nonprofit-but-not-really medical dispensary businesses in Arizona, where licenses acquired in a lottery for $5,000 are now worth "$5 million, $8 million, $10 million. There are tales of $20 million deals for control of licenses," as the story notes. This was also one of our most-picked-up issues of the year — owing in part, no doubt, to the Monopoly Man who graced the cover. 

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