by Dan Gibson
So, to understand the idea put forth by the Phoenix New Times' Ray Stern, by trying to clamp down on medicinal marijuana in Arizona, it's possible that Jan Brewer and Tom Horne might have created a total "Hey, I tried to apply!" free-for-all. Well played, you two. Well played.
Arizona law requires that:
If the department fails to issue a registry identification card within forty-five days of the submission of a valid application or renewal, the registry identification card shall be deemed issued, and a copy of the registry identification card application or renewal is deemed a valid registry identification card.
Matt Benson, Brewer's spokesman, confirmed that the governor understands this self-enacting part of the law. Though Brewer and Horne have indicated they'll likely direct the Arizona Department of Health Services to put the dispensary program on hold until a federal court rules on the legality of Arizona's program, DHS "will continue issuing those cards as they have been until further notice."
Failing to do that, Benson acknowledges, would create a bit of chaos. Anyone with a copy of a registration card application could legally possess weed, but the state would have no record of them.
Without going into all the hypotheticals of the situation, suffice to say that Arizonans who want to qualify to legally possess marijuana under state law can do so. They can keep appying for and receiving state-approved cards, or, if the state stops taking registration card applications, they can just keep their unapproved applications handy. Prosecutors will still be prohibited from convicting legal medical marijuana patients.
Or small-time growers. Qualified patients could still raise up to five plants each at home, as long as no dispensary opens within 25 miles. Thanks to the way Brewer and Horne are sticking it to voters, no dispensary will open anytime soon.