AG Sessions marijuana decision worries Tucson dispensary

AG Sessions marijuana decision worries Tucson dispensary
Source: KOLD
Source: KOLD
Source: KOLD

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now/AP) - It's a Sunday night in Tucson, Arizona. For many, it's a time of preparation for the week ahead, including grocery shopping.

For Seth Myles, in his case, it's shopping for medication. What he's taking home isn't your typical market item, with names like Cookies Kush and Chemdog Special.

Myles' medical marijuana gets him through the daily pain.

"This takes care of it, though. It really, really does," he said, talking about how he's used cannabis as medication for years. "You have to have a legitimate reason. You can't just walk in be like, 'I'd like to smoke weed.'"

His legitimate reason, he said, is a broken neck suffered in 2003.

He was fed up after what he called, "a long run with opiates."

"I just could not do them anymore. I can't do them anymore. This was a great alternative to that. No sickness, no nothing. And honestly, it's a great cognitive and dis-associative way to really get your mind off your pain," he said.

It's a feeling that a majority of Arizonans have.

Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Initiative, passed narrowly in 2010. The patients must get a doctor's recommendation and register with the Arizona Department of Health Services. At the time, the law was written to allow for no more than 124 marijuana dispensaries in the state.

And in 2013, the Obama Administration told federal prosecutors to focus less on businesses that comply with state regulations and more on hardened criminal enterprises.

"In other words, prosecutors could still fight the drug trade, but if a state has legalized marijuana and put in place its own regulatory system, they should leave those operating within that system alone," a Washington Post Opinion report stated.

It paved the way for Downtown Dispensary in Tucson, co-owned by Moe Asnani, to operate.

"And now with that being withdrawn, that's a big issue for us," he told Tucson News Now.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded that policy.

In a memo Thursday, Sessions says federal prosecutors should decide on their own whether to devote resources to marijuana cases based on other demands in their districts.

Sessions writes in the one-page memo that "prosecutors should follow the well-established principles that govern all federal prosecutions" by considering the seriousness of the crime and its impact on the community, the Associated Press reported.

The drug is available on the recreational level in eight states and Washington, D.C.

Asnani worries Sessions' intention goes against what Arizonans wanted, even though voters said 'no' to full recreational marijuana use in the 2016 election.

On the medical side, Asnani sees a serious potential problem with prices.

"That honestly worries me the most. You have a healthcare system that's already being pushed to the hilt here," he said. "You put it in the pharmaceutical industry, and that is now being sold in the same way other pharmaceuticals are. You're maybe looking at a price-point of over $1,000 per dose like you see with really expensive medication."

Unlike the roughly $150 spent by Myles on Sunday night.

He was stocking up, with little worry about any stigma that comes with it.

"I work hard. I use this stuff responsibly. This is one of the only places I come to get it. I'm in here once a month," he said. "I don't feel like a criminal at all. I don't spend a lot of money doing it. I sleep fine at night."