December 20, 2012

2 Important Medical Marijuana Court Hearings Today in Arizona, California

Image for medical marijuana court ruling

The medical marijuana industry scored major legal wins in Arizona and California several weeks ago, when judges in two separate cases sided with MMJ.

But the victories, while important, do not mark the end of the cases. Another critical court hearing is scheduled for today in both cases, representing the next battle in a larger war. Pay close attention: The outcome of these cases could make or break the industry in each state and will have large implications on the MMJ business nationally.

Here’s an update on each situation and what it means for MMJ:

Arizona – Earlier this month, a judge ruled in favor of the medical marijuana industry in a decision that essentially gave the go-ahead for dispensaries to open. However, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery appealed the ruling and asked the judge to suspend the initial decision while the process plays out. The judge denied the request, so Montgomery asked the appeals court to temporarily block the ruling. The court will hear the request today.

The stakes: If the court sides with Montgomery, it could give state and local officials the ability to close down dispensaries and prevent new ones from opening while the appeal is considered. The first medical marijuana centers opened this month in Arizona, and dozens more plan to launch soon in light of the initial ruling. Dispensaries that received permission from the state to move forward must get up and running by August 2013 or they’ll lose the right to open at all. So any delays or setbacks in that process would throw the industry into chaos.

California – Three weeks ago, a judge ruled that a landlord cannot immediately evict California-based Harborside Health Center despite receiving a civil forfeiture notice from the federal government. The ruling set a favorable legal precedent for dispensaries and has allowed Harborside to continue operating for now. But the feds are still trying to close the dispensary via civil forfeiture laws, and a US District Court will hold a hearing on the case at 10 am Pacific time today. The court will consider motions by Harborside’s landlords in Oakland and San Jose to prohibit the dispensary from selling marijuana while the forfeiture case is pending. It also will hear arguments by the City of Oakland, which has sided with Harborside and is challenging the government’s forfeiture actions.

The stakes: If the court backs the landlords, Harborside would be barred from selling medical marijuana while its forfeiture case plays out. That would cripple Harborside, which ranks as the country’s largest medical marijuana dispensary, and could have repercussions for other dispensaries facing civil forfeiture threats.

Henry Wykowski – lead attorney for Harborside – said that preventing Harborside from dispensing marijuana at this time would  amount to a “grave injustice.”

“If granted, (the motions) will deprive Harborside of the right to fully develop and present its case,” Wykowski said. “Harborside should have the right to conduct discovery, present its arguments and have a jury decide, nothing less.” He added that the stakes are high, saying “the future of the medical cannabis industry and the well-being of hundreds of thousands of patients.”


  1. I attended the hearing in Phoenix, AZ today.
    The lawyer for the defeance was ill prepared and confused.
    She blew it big time and it was a big win for the County Attorney.

  2. What I believe you are seeing here is our federal system functioning at its best. This always holds true when lobbyists and big business are involved. As I see it. This is merely a manipulation on the part of big business to get control of a potential multi-billion a a year industry through our corrupted Local, State and Federal government. Did the average American actually believe that an opportunity such as this would be opened up to everyone. If so, please let me be the first to inform you. It has always been the federal governments priority to place big business concerns first before United States general citizenship. The most memorable of course that being slavery. I hope most of you are well aware of the circumstances that surrounded the bloodiest time in our countries history. If not please read a book on the subject. Senators, Congressmen, state and local government are all susceptible to the ever far reaching tentacles of business and the stranglehold it has on our government. R.J Reynolds, among other big tobacco companies have been fulfilling the addiction of millions of people each year for the deadly carcinogen. It is not by contradictive research that they operate but by plain and simple pay-offs. These companies and others are in no way going to allow an average company a seat at the dinner table. Again. By means of legislation the governement will be limiting participation to those that have been feasting off the bounty the hard working average citizen has been providing for 2 centuries now. These huge corporations will be announced as demonstrating the ability to create a safe and prosperous jobs for many Americans. They will be presented as institutions that have demonstrated their ability to operate safely and are all ready set up to take the lead in the industry. They will create hundreds if not thousands of new jobs for Americans will be stated in their press releases. Minimum wage of course. You will be permitted to plant, grow, harvest, process and package the product. However the sale and the enormous profits that are generated with said sales will be dis pursed among the already super wealthy and used to pay off the officials and keep them on the payroll forever or at least as it is still profitable to do so. It may sound as though I am an anti-government or big business person and you would be absolutely correct! Cottage industries have always been the target of government and corporate America. This holds true withe legal marijuana. If you do not agree. Name one industry that for a few hundred dollars you would be able to compete against the giants on wall street? Perhaps the internet is the only example that can be sited. However corporations are no longer going to allow their advertising dollars to go to a bloggers site. There are more and more buy-outs of companies that engage in such an industry and only by the defense of the first amendment does that still hold true. However in regards to legalized marijuana no such well known amendment is there to protect those who wish to commit to starting a new business in such a newly legalized industry.
    Harborside will be a relic in a few months. An example of what America use to stand for. The chance for an ordinary person by seizing an opportunity and through hard work and good business practices can thrive in the greatest country on earth. Hate to cast such a shadow on what once thought of as a glimmer of hope on a depressed middle class. I will let the up coming events and legal decisions determine if my negativity is warranted or if it is just babbling s of an old depressed lower class, under educated crack pot. I hope that I am completely wrong on this and many other issues but if not for anything. This government has always demonstrated its weakness for power and wealth and the happiness, health and welfare of the general population are always secondary.

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