The owner of one of the state's new marijuana clubs is asking a judge to rule that his operation and similar ones can legally keep their doors open.

Allan Sobol contends there is nothing illegal about operating a club where dues-paying members, once inside, are entitled to pick up free samples of the drug. He said the drugs are being given away by a separate nonprofit entity to which he simply provides space as well as tests what they are providing for purity and potency.

What is causing concern is that state Health Director Will Humble said last week, both in a blog item and to Capitol Media Services, that he is asking the Attorney General's Office to investigate. Humble said he believes the entire operation is "inconsistent" with the provisions of the medical marijuana law voters approved last November.

There was no immediate response from Humble, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

That law sets up a system where individuals who have a doctor's recommendation can get a state-issued card allowing them to obtain up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

It also required Humble's agency to license about 125 dispensaries where those with the ID cards could get the drugs.

But Humble refused to issue any licenses after Gov. Jan Brewer questioned whether Arizona could enact its law in the face of federal statutes making possession, sale and distribution of the drug a crime. A lawsuit filed in federal court asking for a ruling is awaiting action.

In the meantime, marijuana patients are entitled to grow their own drugs because there are no dispensaries. More to the point, from Sobol's perspective, they are free to give away what they do not need to qualified organizations.

One of those organizations exists within the walls of Sobol's 2811 Club in north Phoenix, a club where dues are $75 per visit or $700 a year. At the current time, the amount of free marijuana available on each visit is about a tenth of an ounce.

Humble said there is nothing wrong with one marijuana user giving away excess drugs to another. But he said the law requires that nothing of value be exchanged.

He told Capitol Media Services the system Sobol is operating - where members have to pay dues to get access to the nonprofit's give-away drugs - appears to be "a shell game."

Sobol acknowledged that his company does make "donations" to the nonprofit.

But Sobol, in the lawsuit he filed on his own behalf, said none of that makes the operation an illegal sale of marijuana.

"There is no correlation between the club membership dues and the freely distributed medical marijuana," he wrote in his lawsuit. "The quantity, potency and street value of the free samples may vary from day to day, subject to availability, while the membership dues are consistently the same. It is conceivable that on a given day a member of the club could receive the maximum allowable amount of 2.5 ounces while still paying the same club membership of $75."

There was no immediate response from Humble to the lawsuit.

(2) comments

Arizona Willie

We also have state laws. and a state constitution. The state constitution does NOT give the Governor or state employees the power to set aside a state law because they don't like it or think the Fed's MAY MIGHT MAYBE COULD SOMEDAY SOMEWHEN SOMEHOW arrest someone for doing their job under the state law. The feds have NEVER arrested a state employee for doing his job under a state medical marijuana law and the governor knows that full well.

The governor is committing a crime and so are any employees who refuse to issue licenses under the law by denying citizens their rights under the state law.

The media raises cain over Sheriff Joe exceeding his authority by enforcing laws against illegal immigrants but they say NOTHING about the Governor exceeding her authority tellling state employees not to do their job under state law.

The Feds have arrested NO ONE in Arizona for medical marijuana -- ONLY LOCAL POLICE claiming to enforce Federal law. But my isn't it strange how it is perfectly fine for local police to enforce Federal law about marijuana but it is NOT OK for local police to enforce Federal law against illegal immigration -- at least according to the media.

Sheriff Joe should arrest the Governor.

Leon Ceniceros

"IT MAKES NO MATTER" AS THE OLD SAYING GOES WHAT ...HOWIE FISCHER'S VIEWS ARE OR ALAN SOBOS VIEW'S ARE OR WHAT ARIZONA STATE HEALTH DIRECTOR, WILL HUMBLE'S VIEWS ARE.

MARIJUANA IS A "SCHEDULE 1" CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. POSSESSION AND USE WHETHER FOR MEDICAL OR RECREATIONAL USE IS ......FORBIDDEN.

READ THE "CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT" UNDER TITLE II OF THE COMPREHENSIVE DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION AND CONTROL ACT OF 1970.

NO WHERE DOES THE ACT OF CONGRESS AND SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES........MAKE ANY EXCEPTIONS FOR "MEDICAL USE OR PRESCRIPTION BY A DOCTOR" OR FOR ..."MARIJUANA CLUBS WHETHER DUES ARE COLLECTED OR NOT".

POSSESSION AND ANY USE OF MARIJUANA IS A FEDERAL OFFENSE PUNISHABLE BY FINES AND/OR IMPRISONMENT ACCORDING TO AMOUNT.

THE UNITED STATES IS STILL A ..."NATION OF LAWS".....NOT A ...."NATION OF POT-HEADS, STONERS AND TOKERS AND MEDICAL MARIJUANA USERS"....PERIOD...END OF DISCUSSION.
IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE LAWS OF OUR NATION...THE VOTE FOR A CONGRESSMAN/WOMAN AND SENATOR AND PRESIDENT WHO WILL REPEAL OR CHANGE THE LAW.

THAT IS HOW WE DO THINGS IN AMERICA.

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