Deans List of Achievements
Since the very beginning, since the passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), Tom has been at the forefront of defending medical marijuana Patients, Designated Caregivers, Dispensaries and Dispensary Agent. He has won several key victories for the medical marijuana community, including, but no limited to, the following ground breaking cases:
-2010: Organized Attorney Association that Helped to Win the Right to Legal Counsel for All Patients, Caregivers and Dispensaries:
Tom won the right of medical marijuana entrepreneurs to be represented by an attorney. The State Bar of Arizona was considering following the state of Maine and make it unlawful for attorneys to represent persons in the medical marijuana industry because cannabis remains unlawful under federal law. Tom immediately went into action and formed a committee of Arizona lawyers called Arizona Attorneys for Sensible Marijuana Laws to fight against this action. Result: The State Bar issued an opinion authorizing Arizona attorneys to advise and represent clients despite the fact that marijuana is unlawful under federal law;
-2010: Fought for Reasonable Zoning Ordinances:
Tom drafted model zoning ordinances for the Arizona League of Cities and Towns that was distributed by that organization to all cities and towns in Arizona;
-2011: Defeated the Governor’s Federal Lawsuit against the AMMA:
Tom defeated of the Governor’s attempt to declare the AMMA unconstitutional in Federal Court by co-authoring and filing a Motion to Dismiss with the ACLU which resulted in the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Arizona Governor Brewer in Federal District Court. Gov. Brewer was asking the Court to declare the AMMA unconstitutional. Had she succeeded, the AMMA would have been completely destroyed. The governor failed to achieve her objective and Tom prevailed in this very important case;
-2011: Protected Arizona’s Compassion Club Industry against an Injunction from Operating:
Tom successfully defeated the Arizona Attorney General’s demand for a civil injunction closing down Arizona’s Compassion Club industry that had developed in response to the Governor’s attempt to stop MMJ dispensaries;
-2011: Protected Out of State Patient Rights:
Tom won the first dismissal in the state of Arizona of a criminal case against an out of state card holder:
-2011: Protected Out of State Patient Rights:
Tom also won the first dismissal in Maricopa County of a criminal case against an out of state card holder;
-2011: Protected Caregiver Rights:
Tom won the first dismissal in Arizona of a criminal case filed against a registered Arizona caregiver by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office;
-2011: Protected Cultivator’s Rights to Possess Surplus Marijuana:
Tom won the first dismissal in Arizona of a criminal case against a person charged with possession of more than her allowable amount of marijuana that resulted from a recent harvest of her 12 plant grow;
-2011: Protected Patients’ Right to the Return of Medical Marijuana when wrongfully Taken:
Tom assisted a Yuma County attorney who won the landmark case that held that law enforcement must return medical marijuana to a patient if it was wrongfully taken, even if the patient is registered in another state. The government had attempted to argue that returning the medical marijuana would violate the Federal Controlled Substance Act. The Arizona Court of Appeals disagreed and the United States Supreme Court declined to overrule that decision;
-2012: Protected Compassion Clubs against Civil Action:
During the year that Governor Brewer delayed the opening of dispensaries. Tom achieved a dismissal by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office of its civil action for declaratory judgment against Arizona’s Compassion Club industry;
-2012: Established a Medical Marijuana Defense for Non-Patients:
Tom won the right of a non-patient to argue a medical marijuana defense at trial in a Maricopa County felony marijuana case. Result: Not-guilty, case dismissed;
-2012: Protected Hydro Stores:
Tom won the first dismissal in Arizona of a criminal case against a non-patient in the business of selling hydroponic equipment and assisting patients and caregivers set up marijuana grow operations around the state.
-2012: Protected Patient to Patient Transfers:
Tom authored the first successful Motion to Dismiss in a case in which he argued that the AMMA allowed for patients to sell to other patients. The motion was filed by the Pima County Public Defender’sOffice and the Pima County judge threw the case out. Unfortunately, the prosecution appealed the decision and the Court of Appeals reversed. The case is now pending before the Arizona Supreme Court. See below.
-2013: Protected Cultivator Rights:
Tom won the first dismissal in Arizona of a case in Arizona involving the definition of a marijuana “plant”. In this case, the State was attempting to count separate stalks of the same plant as separate plants.
-2013: Protected Cultivator Rights to Grow in a Greenhouse:
Tom won the first dismissal in Arizona of a criminal case against a registered patient growing marijuana in the ground under a greenhouse tarp.
-2013: Protected Patients Right of a Patient or Caregiver to Possess an Unlimited Amount of Marijuana Leaf Material:
Tom won the first Motion to Dismiss in a criminal case in Maricopa County against a patient for possession a large amount of processed leaf material, which, as Tom pointed out, is not considered “usable marijuana” under the AMMA.
-2013: Protected Patients against Workplace Discrimination:
Tom successfully appealed and reversed the Arizona Unemployment InsuranceAdministration’s decision to deny benefits to patients who were terminated from employment for a positive test for THC. The employer in this case that lost to Tom was Goodwill Industries, a large multinational corporation;
-2014: Protected the Right of Patients to Possess and Use Concentrates and Edibles:
As co-counsel, Tom drafted and won the first Motion to Dismiss in a case in Arizona (Maricopa County), establishing the right of patients to possess and use cannabis concentrates and edibles. The Court agreed with Tom that concentrates were included in the definition of “useable marijuana” under the AMMA. This case was Pro bono. Tom stepped up for the public defender in this case and authored the first Motion to Dismiss that won the case. NOTE: this case was decided before the more publicized ACLU civil case that followed Tom’s argument. That case was also won about a month after Tom had won the issue in a criminal case.
-2014: Defending Patient to Patient Transfers:
Tom is the attorney of record in another patient to patient sales case that is also currently pending before the Arizona Supreme Court. That case also involves the issue of patient to patient sales. Specifically, Tom is fighting for the right of patients to set up collective Farmer’s Markets.
-2015: Protected Patients’ Right to Use Medical Marijuana while on Felony Probation:
Tom was Amicus curiae counsel on behalf of NORML in this very important patient’s rights case which was won at the Supreme Court. The Court held that patients have the right to use medical marijuana while on probation and that neither the prosecutor nor the Court can interfere with that right.
-2015: Defending Designated Caregivers and Dispensary Agents from Revocation:
The Department is attempting to revoke the registration of Designated Caregivers and Dispensary Agents when they do not indicate on their attestation form that they had an excluded felony conviction despite the fact that the conviction has been set aside and vacated. Tom is arguing that these cardholders are free to apply where their conviction has been set aside and the charges dismissed. The Department’s position is that such a set aside has no force and effect. Tom believes this would render the set aside statute meaningless. This case has already completed oral arguments and we are awaiting the Court’s decision.
-2015: Defending Patients from DUI:
Tom won two cases before the Arizona Supreme Court as Amicus curiae counsel on behalf of NORML arguing that registered patients have a defense against Arizona’s DUI per se statue (THC metabolites). The Supreme Court overruled the Court of Appeals and agreed with Tom that the AMMA provides patients this important defense.
-2015: Protected Patients from DUI:
Despite the aforementioned holding denying immunity for patients from DUI per se, Tom won a jury nullification verdict in a case prosecuting a registered patient for driving with THC metabolites in his system. Result: Not-Guilty.
-2015: Defending the Right of Patients to Possess Medical Marijuana on University Campuses:
Tom is challenging the constitutionality of a statute passed after the AMMA by more than 90% of both houses of the state legislature. The statute prohibits patients from possessing medical marijuana on public university and college campuses. Tom has filed a direct appeal and the Arizona Court of Appeals will decide soon about whether the statute is constitutional. Tom’s argument is that this statute violates the Arizona Voter Protection Act. This case is pending before the Arizona Court of Appeals.
-2015: Defending Dispensary Agent Rights:
Tom is defending a Dispensary Agent who is being prosecuted for allegedly not having a written trip plan/manifest on his person while making a dispensary delivery to a registered patient. This case is pending.
-2015: Defending Cultivator Rights:
Tom is defending a young man who is accused of possessing more than his “allowable amount” of medical marijuana. Tom’s argument is that the plant material was in the process of drying and was not yet dried. Under the AMMA, therefore, it was not “usable marijuana”. This case is pending.