If you’ll wait a couple of days you should be able to find an article by Doug Metcalf of Lewis & Roca at this URL:
http://www.azbar.org/AZAttorney. It’s in the current issue of the hard copy of Arizona Attorney (out this week). The article explains how federal law, in this case the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), trumps the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act’s enforceablility. Metcalf expresses the belief that “it seems unlikely that federal prosecutors would want [certified patients] to obtain medical marijuana from drug traffickers.” He’s not so sanguine about federal treatment of other players in the medical marijuana dispensing drama.
Basically, Metcalf’s saying that dispensaries should be left alone if they can show that there is no tie to organized crime in the supply chain or the ownership of the dispensary. He also observes that the dispensers should also be able to demonstrate that they only distribute to seriously ill patients. That, of course, is more difficult than the first task, since dispensers have no control over the process of certifying “patients” in the first place. But Metcalf is correct that being able to account for all the marijuana sold, and not grossing receipts in magnitudes well exceeding the dispenser’s cost of goods, overhead and salaries of employees, will be key to local prosecutors decision-making about whether to pursue the dispensers.
I cannot think of a reason why some of those very features of legitimate business operation cannot be incorporated in a landlord’s lease to a tenant dispensary. Metcalf notes that the odds of landlord prosecution “rise substantially if the tenant/dispensary is prosecuted for violating the CSA.” A smart landlord is one that requires the tenant to toe the line of legitimacy in its operations. It’s not essentially different in any other kind of leasing circumstance, with a Lease that conventionally provides that “tenant shall comply with all laws and regulations in force applicable to the Premises.” And, finally, landlords cannot invite trouble by accepting percentage rent based on the performance of the dispensary. That’s an entirely stupid idea, since it invites federal prosecution under the CSA for aider and abettor counts against the landlord.