Thursday, June 2, 2011

No Matter the Headlines, Legal Marijuana Can Still be in Arizona Workplaces

Despite my intention to proceed logically and deliberately through the three possible categories of marijuana cardholders protected by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), the bold headlines just won’t let me.

As you probably have heard, the lawsuits are flying as Governor Jan Brewer and other state officials have sued federal government officials in the latest installment of the long-running series of federal-state conflicts over medical marijuana. That lawsuit is spawning others, because Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director Will Humble, another plaintiff in the state-federal lawsuit, has decided not to accept applications from folks wanting to open marijuana dispensaries.

Yesterday was the day ADHS was scheduled to begin accepting those applications under the timeline Director Humble and his staff issued at the same time they finalized the regulations to implement AMMA.  To lay a foundation for another lawsuit, a prospective dispensary applicant showed up at Humble’s office yesterday to try to submit an application, and he was turned away.  The would-be applicant is now going to sue the state officials for failing to implement the will of the people expressed in Proposition 203, the vehicle by which AMMA became law.

To Arizona employers, I say, none of the legal wrangling matters much for you and the challenges AMMA presents for your workplace.  Director Humble intends to continue issuing marijuana ID cards to Qualifying Patients and their Designated Caregivers.  So regardless of the headlines, the AMMA is not on hold for you.

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