As you read this, I am somewhere over the United States, stuck in a middle seat my  travel agent managed to secure for me. I’m winging my way to Washington DC, where I will make a presentation to a roomful of association publication experts. More on that later.

As much as I am looking forward to my conference, I am very sorry to miss a newsworthy event occurring in Phoenix today: the grand opening of a 21,000 square foot weGrow Marijuana Superstore.

Medical marijuana is in the news daily, along with the conflict it implicates between federal and state law. In fact, we are planning a story or two on the topic in an upcoming Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Are the state leaders who have halted developments in medical-marijuana merely seeking clarity through their lawsuit, or are they thwarting the will of the people? That is a question on the mind of many.

As an example of the controversy, read what E.J. Montini had to say in the Arizona Republic about medical marijuana earlier in the week.

And some have already established a legal defense fund “to protect Arizona Medical Marijuana rights.” (See the press release at the end of the post.)

That’s all well and good, but it’s hard for me to believe that I’ll miss the opening of a place dubbed “the Walmart of Weed.” As weGrow is careful to point out, they do not actually sell marijuana (read more about the company here). But on Wednesday, anyone interested in the next chapter of the state’s pot saga will be at 2937 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ (29th Ave. & Thomas Rd.), where there will be a panel discussion, ribbon-cutting and grand-opening festival.

Oh well, better luck next time.

Here is the press release:

Legal Defense Fund Established to Protect the Rights of Arizonans and Suffering Patients Seeking Medical Marijuana 

Legality of Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Law Questioned

(Scottsdale, Arizona) – On the heels of a lawsuit filed by the State of Arizona to determine the legality of the recently enacted Medical Marijuana Law,  a legal defense fund, Don’t Let Medical Marijuana Die, has been established to protect the will of the voters and guarantee ill patients access to medication that relieves their pain and suffering.

The lawsuit, initiated by the Governor and the AZ Attorney General, puts the future of AZ’s Medical Marijuana Act in question and leaves sick and dying patients wondering when they will be able to relieve their pain and suffering.  At issue in the suit is whether AZ’s law can legally be enacted even though Federal law continues to make possession and distribution of marijuana illegal.  The suit seeks to obtain clarity regarding this seemingly conflicted legal status of medical marijuana laws.

Attorney Ryan Hurley leads the Medical Marijuana Division at Scottsdale’s Rose Law Firm.  While disappointed about the halt on Arizona’s Medical Marijuana program, he feels the lawsuit will ultimately be decided in favor of patients and states’ rights, “Health care providers and medical marijuana dispensary operators shouldn’t have to worry about federal prosecution for simply trying to treat sick patients. Ill patients should not have to worry about access to medication as they battle  HIV, cancer, spinal cord injuries, or multiple sclerosis, just to name a few.  Hopefully this fear of prosecution can be put to rest and the legality of State MMJ laws can finally be upheld.”

Don’t Let Medical Marijuana Die was formed to protect the rights of Arizonans and protect the dispensaries and health care providers who are simply trying to relieve the pain and suffering of their patients. It’s seeking donations to cover their legal expenses in this vitally important battle.  Here is a link to the organization’s website.

The Board Members include:

  • Dr. Daniel Rubin,  Medical Director of Naturopathic Specialists, LLC in Scottsdale, AZ, where he practices full time as a naturopathic oncologist
  • State Senator Robert Meza, a 3rd generation Phoenician who sits on many civic boards
  • Ari Schafer, President of the Civic Center Pharmacy, a locally and nationally recognized source of custom compounded medications not routinely available through the larger chain stores
  • Victor Ostrow, Former General Manager of Rawhide western theme park and a 37 year resident of Arizona. His work in promoting Arizona tourism includes past participation in the Valley of the Sun Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce 

These individuals have courageously stepped forward to protect the rights of countless Arizonans seeking relief from debilitating pain.

Overwhelmingly approved by voters in November 2010, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act legalizes medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. 16 other states have done the same.