ARIZONA: State health officials are facing a new legal challenge over a provision in the voter-approved Medical Marijuana Act that bars those who live within 25 miles of a dispensary from growing their own plants.
The lawsuit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court contends giving some the right to grow but not to others is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Billy B. Hayes, who is not at attorney but filed the legal papers on behalf of himself and others, also contends the system gives dispensary operators a monopoly in violation of state constitutional provisions.
Hayes, a resident of El Mirage, wants Judge Arthur Anderson to rule that all of the more than 50,000 medical marijuana patients in Arizona are eligible to grow their own plants without fear of prosecution. And recognizing the case could take months, if not longer, Hayes is asking Anderson to block state health officials from enforcing the no-grow provisions while the lawsuit is proceeding.
The 2010 voter-approved Arizona Medical Marijuana Act allows those with specified medical conditions and a doctor’s recommendation to obtain up to 2 1/2 ounces of the drug every two weeks. And the law required the state to set up a system of privately run but state regulated dispensaries to sell the drug.