Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
The roadblocks that bureaucrats like Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, Arizona Bar official Patricia Sallen, and now Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble have erected bring me question one of this state’s core Republican values– free-market capitalism.
Is Arizona a nanny state that wants to protect its citizens from legal marijuana distribution? Or is Arizona a business-friendly, capitalist state that will allow the free market decide which marijuana dispensaries survive? So far, Arizona’s approach to the medical marijuana business is out-of-step with its generally laissez-faire, no-holds-barred business attitude.
The latest example of the state’s schizophrenic behavior appeared in an Associated Press story in today’s Arizona Daily Star. The story features hand-wringing Humble brainstorming about ways to hamper the medical marijuana industry with fees and over-regulation before it even gets off the ground. [Emphasis added.]
“Most other states, you hang out a shingle and you’re a dispensary,” said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, which will regulate the medical marijuana industry. “I want to avoid those kinds of abuses.”
Humble sees limiting the number of dispensaries and putting stringent requirements in place as a way to avoid such issues.
Dispensary hopefuls will have to pay up to $5,000 to apply for a license. In their application, they’ll need to include addresses for their pot shops and off-site cultivation facilities; detailed security plans to prevent break-ins; procedures for accurate record-keeping; information about employees for background checks; a sworn statement that they’re meeting zoning requirements; and a statement pledging they won’t sell pot to unregistered patients.
The department hopes to post a draft of proposed requirements on Dec. 17 and finalize rules by late March.
If a business owner has the proper business licenses and has complied with local zoning, why shouldn’t they be able to “hang out a shingle” and become a medical marijuana dispensary? How is that an “abuse”? Isn’t that called capitalism? Seriously, folks, how is this different from setting up a pharmacy or a shop that sells nutritional supplements?
So, Governor Jan Brewer wants to give huge tax cuts to businesses that will re-locate to Arizona, but would-be marijuana dispensary businesses get hefty fees + mountains of procedures + a patchwork of city and county zoning regulations + the requirement to be non-profit + a limit on growth + no legal help? That doesn’t seem business friendly to me.
UPDATE: Check out this link for the update on this story.