Medical marijuana

While holding up their medical marijuana cards, Dennis Cox, left, and Mike Gonzalez, right, wait as the first two people in line prior to the opening at Arizona Organix, the first legal medical marijuana dispensary to open in Arizona, Thursday Dec. 6, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. Several dozen waited outside for the Glendale dispensary to open, the first among 96 applicants chosen through a lottery system for 126 geographic areas across the state.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona's first legal medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors in Glendale Thursday two years after voters approved the use of the drug to treat certain health problems such as chronic pain and cancer.

The Glendale dispensary is among 96 applicants chosen through a lottery system for 126 geographic areas across the state.

Several dozen people waited outside the storefront for the dispensary to open at 10 a.m., a small line stretching around the side of the building located beside a row of other shops, including an antique store and tattoo parlor.

"I've been waiting a long time for this," said Charles Everett, 56, a musician who said he was assaulted and robbed about eight years, leading to a broken femur and ongoing chronic pain.

"I don't like to depend on prescription narcotics," Everett said, wearing jeans and a tie-dye Jimi Hendrix T-shirt. "This is God's green earth right here. It's a great day for Democracy."

Arizona Organix co-owner Bill Myer said he plans to keep the dispensary open at least 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

"If you need medicine on Christmas Day, come and get it," Myer said.

The dispensary is set up similarly to a doctor's office with a waiting room and a flat screen television hung on the wall that was tuned to C-Span. Patients walk up to a bullet-proof window and show their state-issued cards to a woman sitting behind a desk who checks their status on a computer before approving them to walk through another door into a backroom where the marijuana is stored.

Myer said patients then talk to consultants privately about their ailments and discuss the options for different strains of marijuana that offer varying effects.

Nearly 20 states and the District of Columbia have approved medicinal marijuana use in some form. Washington and Colorado became the first states to vote to decriminalize and regulate the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana by adults over 21 without the medicinal requirements in other states. Both measures call for setting up state licensing schemes for pot growers, processors and retail stores.

The law took effect in Washington on Thursday. Colorado's law is set to take effect by Jan. 5.

Earlier this week, an Arizona state judge ruled that the medical marijuana law here doesn't usurp federal drug laws, clearing the way for the Glendale dispensary and others to open. State and Maricopa County prosecutors said they planned to appeal.

Myer said he had been waiting until the court ruling to open his dispensary, given the uncertainties of the law and legal challenges.

"It's a very historic day for us and for the patients of Arizona," he said.

(5) comments

loubator

I will do all I can to keep legalized stonery out of my neighborhood.

ehrlichseb

@loubator: Make sure to keep all those drunkard factories out too! You know, the bars, liquor stores, restaurants, gas stations, etc. Oh wait what? One is a medicine that has 0 reported deaths from it and the other takes tens of thousands of lives a year? Imagine that.

JoeDaWg82

It's about time, the people have clearly spoken on this issue. Montgomery needs to be reminded who is in charge, he is nothing but an employee. We aren't up in arms about pharmacies, which sell much more dangerous drugs than this glorified garden store. Anyone who prefers pills to battle their illnesses is free to pop till they drop, I've got no sympathy for the ignorant. It certainly isn't anyone's place to question these people's decisions when they are choosing a safer alternative to deadly/addictive pills. Any nanny state freaks who hate democracy need to get the heck out of Arizona.

Arizona Willie

The MMJ co-ops and " compassion clubs " used to accept credit cards. But they too have been forced to go to cash only.

It wouldn't possibly be that the banks have been threatened by our " honest and honorable " officials who are abusing their authority and using taxpayer money to fight the valid state mmj law that they don't personally disagree with --- would it?

Much like the Feds threatened the banks for dealing with online poker companies in order to shut them down?

And, it could be the Feds involved again as a way to interfere with mmj operations without spending any money raiding them.

Also making dispensaries and others dealing in mmj use cash only makes them a big big target for crime and will induce criminals to rob the places so then they ( the opponents of mmj ) can claim that mmj causes an increase in crime --- which was actually caused by the actions of the authorities in forcing them to use cash only.

Blame the victime.

Accuracy

“Arizona's first medical marijuana dispensary opens”

Cash only for those who enjoy marijuana ….. because, some banks in Arizona refuse to handle money associated with medical-marijuana dispensaries, so Arizona Organix medical-marijuana dispensary will not accept credit cards or checks.

“Earlier this week, an Arizona state judge ruled that the medical marijuana law here doesn't usurp federal drug laws, clearing the way for the Glendale dispensary and others to open.”

But, the Justice Department still maintains that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. And it is still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

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