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Marijuana Garden Superstore Opens in Arizona

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A new marijuana garden superstore has opened in Arizona in response to the state’s newly enacted medical marijuana law.

The 21,000-square-foot garden center opened in Phoenix with products specifically designed for marijuana growing, Reuters reports. The store, which does not sell marijuana, is owned by the California-based company weGrow. The company says it plans to open stores in Washington, D.C., Denver, Detroit and possibly Los Angeles.

At the Phoenix store, an onsite doctor gives eligible patients initial medical approval needed to apply to the state Health Department for cards that allow them to legally grow and use marijuana as a treatment for qualifying conditions. Reuters reports that 3,696 people in Arizona have obtained cards that allow them to possess and grow marijuana for a range of medical problems, including chronic pain.

In November 2010, voters in Arizona passed a citizen initiative called the Medical Marijuana Act. The initiative called on the state Department of Health Services to create a medical marijuana program within 120 days. The state was to have begun accepting applications from people seeking a permit to operate medical marijuana dispensaries, but that process was suspended last week. The state is seeking to clarify whether its citizens are at risk of federal prosecution if they participate in activities allowed under the state’s Medical Marijuana Act.

Recently, warning letters from the federal government about medical marijuana laws have prompted several states to start reevaluating their laws. The letters from U.S. attorneys indicate that people involved in the growing, dispensing and regulating of medical marijuana have the potential to be prosecuted—even if they are following state laws. One such warning letter prompted Washington state Governor Chris Gregoire to veto a proposal to create licensed marijuana dispensaries.

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