Arizona Medical Marijuana Law Ethics
Potential dispensary owners need permits from cities or towns they want to do business in. Dispensaries can’t be within 500 feet of schools, and municipalities may further limit where they are located.
Additionally, qualifying patients or qualifying patient’s designated caregivers may cultivate medical marijuana or mail order marijuana if the qualifying patient lives more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary. A dispensary may cultivate marijuana at the dispensary or at a cultivation site, but the location of the dispensary and the cultivation site needs to be in compliance with local zoning restrictions. Finally, anyone who grows medical marijuana must do so in an enclosed area. Initially gaining compliance with local zoning restrictions and thereafter maintaining such compliance may however become more difficult than originally anticipated. For instance, prospective medical marijuana dispensary owners are already meeting opposition in several Arizona communities. For one such example read “Medical Marijuana: An Unexpected Fight.”
With several communities already opposing the Arizona Medical Marijuana Laws, it is unquestionable that local practicing attorneys will be needed in the near future to challenge these community restrictions and regulations. After voter approval of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Law in November of last year, there was an unsettling gray area in the legal community regarding whether Arizona attorneys could assist those in complying with the Arizona Medical Marijuana Laws since attorneys of course have an ethical standard not to assist or counsel others to engage in activities in which the lawyer knows to be unlawful. Although Arizona and other states have adopted and approved Medical Marijuana Laws, such conduct is still technically illegal pursuant to Federal Laws.
To assist with this conflict, the Arizona State Bar in a lengthy ethical opinion has since expressed that although medical marijuana dispensaries are still technically illegal pursuant to federal law, that Arizona attorneys are nonetheless free to counsel and advise prospective Arizona medical marijuana, qualifying patients, caregivers, and dispensary owners and/or applicants on the issues of compliance with Arizona State Law. For the full opinion issued by the Arizona State Bar click here.
Proposed dispensary owners must submit their applications through the Arizona Department of Health Services. With the Department only scheduled to approve 125 applications in 2011, the competition for those wishing to open and run Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensaries is hotly contested, to say the least. In addition to the very basic requirements listed herein, prospective dispensary owners should be aware of the many other stringent rule and regulations related to dispensary ownership.
Whether you are a prospective patient, caregiver, or dispensary owner and/or agent, it is suggested that you meet with an Arizona attorney to answer and counsel you through Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Laws. Many local law firms are apprehensive to provide services to Arizona residents in the practice area of medical marijuana due to possible and unknown federal implications. However, the law firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC is at the forefront of Arizona Medical Marijuana laws, rules, and regulations and is likewise proud to offers our counseling services in assisting those in their endeavors to assure compliance with Arizona’s medical marijuana laws. Please visit our Arizona medical marijuana website for more information or contact 602-515-0841 to arrange your consultation.