James Chaney, Tempe Pot Club Owner, Busted Again; Charges Were Dropped After '11 Raid

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

James Chaney, the owner of a Tempe medical-marijuana club that was the site of a shooting last year, was arrested today in a raid of the club and two alleged Tempe "grow houses."

In a news release that invites the media to talk to cops about the raids at, hilariously, 4:20 p.m., Tempe police detail how search warrants were served today at the Top Shelf Hydro College, (formerly AZ Go Green), at 1706 East Curry Road, two alleged grow houses and Chaney's residence in Phoenix. More arrests may be coming, cops say.

Chaney was arrested in 2011 following a raid by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency on the compassion club's old location, 426 East Southern Avenue. The feds referred the case to the office of Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne. Chaney claimed his club's activities were backed by the voter-approved Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. A grand jury refused to indict.

Amazingly, the club sprouted again in the same office-front location, continuing to offer "medicine" for card-carrying medical-marijuana patients.

Then came October's shooting, which wounded an employee.

See also: Tempe Cannabis Club Under Investigation has Shooting; Employee Wounded, Three or More Suspects on Loose

Police said at the time that the club had already been under investigation.

It was hardly the first. Such clubs have proliferated across the state, filling the void left by Governor Jan Brewer's heavy-handed actions against the dispensary portion of the medical-pot law.

Horne and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery have warned repeatedly against selling marijuana outside the boundaries of the law, and Montgomery's obtained several guilty pleas from former club affiliates, like medical-marijuana marketer Al Sobol, of whom we wrote last year.

Several clubs -- and at least one medical-marijuana "vapor lounge" -- remain open in the Valley. Last week, a group that included owners of some of the state-authorized dispensaries rallied at the State Capitol, and one of their points was that it's time for the clubs to go.

Police seized several firearms while serving the warrants, including two "assault rifles." Cops say they're working closely with Montgomery's office on this one.

Click here for the news release, (in a .doc file), if you want to see police pictures of the rifles and the interior of the grow houses. Police say 120 plants were seized.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.