Yolanda Daniels and Lisa Becker are currently embroiled in a lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Health Services, the director of that department, and the governor of the state over the fees associated with acquiring a medical marijuana patient card. Recently, oral arguments were brought before the judge for the case, Judge Jo Lynn Gentry of the Maricopa Country Superior Court. The arguments were heard on April 6th, and the defendants included a motion to dismiss the case during the proceedings.
A previous case from 2007 was the basis for the defendant’s motion to dismiss. The case in question was Kromko vs. Arizona Board of Regents, and it found that the Arizona Constitution has no standard for a decision regarding the tuition fee structure of the Board of Regents, which were allegedly set illegally high.
Daniels and Becker, who are represented legally by Jeff Matura and Steve White, claim that a legal statute exists by which DHS should base their patient card fee structure, meaning that the lack of such language in the state Constitution is irrelevant. The statute in question, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, includes language that states the fee should be “sufficient to implement and administer” the medical cannabis program for the state. However, the plaintiffs argue that the state has an obligation under their own constitution to relate any agency fee closely to the service being performed for the payer. In other words, the patient cards should cost enough to ensure the state can operate the program, but not so much that it creates a measurable profit for the state.
Judge Gentry has yet to rule on the motion to dismiss, but that ruling will most likely be given within thirty days. While it seems unlikely that the motion will be granted, it is certainly possible that the judge could side with the state, despite the overwhelming evidence against the state’s claim. This case will continue to garner attention for Arizonians hoping to win a decision that will allow them to purchase patient medical cannabis cards at an acceptable price.