Notes from the ‘human trade’ trail…cocaine stuffed backpacks, trafficking of human flesh and the occasional drug cartel shootout – all less vexing than patient to patient pot sales?
While it shouldn’t be shocking, coming from the obvious right-wing state of Arizona… a seedy little sinkhole of humanity, that prefers drunkards to stoners. Most held their breath, hoping for the best…braced for the worst, knowing these types of headlines would be hitting the front pages shortly after medical marijuana was made available to the sick and needy. I guess it’s just the speed, zeal and vigor with which these victimless, nonviolent stories caught traction. Or not – after all, this is Maricopa County Arizona we’re talking about – the home of “Big Joe” Arpaio.
Despite the fact – that not all medical marijuana patients are capable of making it to their local collective, due to disabilities (think chemotherapy – HIV/AIDS – wasting syndrome), patient to patient sales of medical weed is still illegal under Arizona law. Yet, this is exactly what is happening (according to the sheriff)…and it is frustrating the local municipalities in Maricopa County.
Cardholder-to-cardholder sales are illegal, the state health department said, and are frustrating to police. Sahuarita police recently stopped a Tucson man with a medical marijuana card and an outstanding narcotics warrant from Maricopa County when he was driving erratically around Rancho Sahuarita looking for his connection. They booked him into jail for the warrant. In the past Sahuarita police have simply reported sales among medical marijuana cardholders to the Arizona Department of Health Services, which regulates medical marijuana, but ADHS officials on Tuesday said such sales are illegal under ARS 36-2811, the medical marijuana statute.
Sahuarita police Sgt. Matt McGlone said Tuesday that now that the law has been clarified, officers will arrest cardholders when they can prove something of value has been exchanged for marijuana.
Irritated and feeling duped, state representative John Kavanagh (R), introduced HCR 2003. The intention of this resolution is to throwback Arizona’s medical marijuana proposition 203 before the voters – for reconsideration in 2014. As some may remember, proposition 203 narrowly cultivated the needed votes when initially passed in 2010. The primary backer of HCR 2003 is “Keep Arizona drug-free,” who of course, provided strong opposition to prop 203′s initial passing.
“Any benefits to the few participants in the marijuana program who are seriously ill are overwhelmingly outweighed by the harms to our kids and communities,” Keep AZ Drug Free chairperson Carolyn Short noted.
McGlone said officers have found authorized cardholders selling marijuana on the street and in a few cases selling to other cardholders. Those who are selling to non-cardholders are cited for on drug charges, but until Tuesday, when ADHS officials cited the statute, police had been unsure whether they could file charges, McGlone said.
ADHS has issued 33,601 cards to medical marijuana patients. It has received about two dozen reports of patients selling marijuana, is processing those cases, and has revoked 13 cards for various reasons, including selling marijuana, said Tom Salow, ADHS rules administrator. Cardholders can give medical marijuana to each other, but Salow said “nothing of value can be transferred for medical marijuana.”
Supposed Pot Sales?
On Dec. 21, Sahuarita police stopped Brandon Michael Young, 33, of Tucson, after noticed him driving erratically, accelerating and slowing down around Rancho Sahuarita. Once pulled over, Young produced an Arizona state medical marijuana card and informed the police they could search his car. Of course, the police found three glass jars stuffed with medical chronic, in the trunk of his ride. Adding insult to injury, the police then discovered he had the outstanding warrant.
Without proof of any sales Mr. Young was taken into custody for his outstanding bench warrant, at that time no other charges were filed, McGlone said.
Young said he had been looking for a home nearby and police visited the nearest home, in the 14200 block of South Via Horma. An occupant told police he also had a medical marijuana card and said Young was coming to his house to make what he called a “donation” of cash and in return he would give Young marijuana. The man, who was not charged or named in the police report, said he had been visited by Young several times in the past and said on each visit that Young had given him cash ranging from $120 to $170 in return for varying amounts of marijuana.
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Maricopa County have more important things to worry about than patient to patient marijuana sales?