Arizona attorneys have filed a lawsuit seeking to force the Arizona Department of Health Services to begin accepting applications to operate from potential medical marijuana dispensaries, according to AP reports.
The Department of Health Services, the mandated agency that regulates the state’s medical marijuana program, was supposed to begin accepting the applications June 1, but refused after state officials sued the federal government for mostly political reasons.
Department Director Will Humble says claims he can’t accept applications because of uncertainty about the legality of the program, pointing to the politically motivated lawsuit. That lawsuit, filed in May at Gov. Jan Brewer’s request, asks a federal judge to rule on whether Arizona’s voter-approved medical marijuana law can be implemented in the face of outdated federal marijuana law.
Attorneys representing the dispensaries filed their lawsuit Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court in an attempt force the department to accept the applications.
“We were hopeful they would move forward with the program,” said Attorney Ryan Hurley representing a handful of medical marijuana dispensary operators. “The only reason we’re here today is because they stopped us.”
Hurley says the lawsuit breaks new ground and points out the insanity of it all.
“We’ve never been in a situation in which we had to compel a state department to move forward with a law that was enacted by the people.”
While the state continues to accept and process applications by patients and caregivers, they have danced around the law’s dispensary provisions.
Most of the estimated 5,100 patient applications processed as of June 9 authorize those patients to grow up to 12 plants of marijuana for their own use. Dozens of registered caregivers also can grow marijuana for their patients.