Record of Success

Tom Dean's Record of Success

Tom’s marijuana cases range from those involving hundreds of pounds of marijuana to simple possession of marijuana, and everything in between. He has had many of his cases dismissed without even going to trial. The number of cases dismissed was so impressive that he was nicknamed “Dismissal Dean” by an Arizona Superior Court Judge back in 1996.

While most of his cases involve marijuana charges, over the years, Tom has represented clients facing many other types of criminal charges, such as attempted murder, theft, robbery, assault, DUI, burglary, weapons misconduct, embezzlement, and drug cases involving other types of drugs (meth, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, LSD, pain pills, etc.), to name just a few.

Arizona Cases

Since the 2010 passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), Tom has been at the forefront of defending medical marijuana Patients, Designated Caregivers, Dispensaries and Dispensary Agents. He has won several key victories for the medical marijuana community, including, but not limited to, the following groundbreaking cases in Arizona:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Defeated the Governor’s Federal Lawsuit against the AMMA: Tom defeated 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 destroyed. The governor failed to achieve her objective and Tom prevailed in this very important case.
  • 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.
  • Protected Out of State Patient Rights: Tom won both the first dismissal in the state of Arizona and the first dismissal in Maricopa County of a criminal case against an out-of-state cardholder.
  • 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.
  • 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 had resulted from a recent harvest of her legal grow.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 possessing a large amount of processed leaf material, which, as Tom pointed out, is not considered “usable marijuana” under the AMMA.
  • Protected Patients against Workplace Discrimination: Tom successfully appealed and reversed the Arizona Unemployment Insurance Administration’s decision to deny benefits to patients who were terminated from employment for a positive test for THC. The employer in this case was Goodwill Industries.
  • 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.
  • 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 statute (THC metabolites). The Supreme Court overruled the Court of Appeals and agreed with Tom that the AMMA provides patients this important defense.
  • 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.
  • Protected the Right of Patients to Possess Medical Marijuana on University Campuses: After hearing Tom’s argument, The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in favor of Arizona State University Student Andre Maestas, who had been convicted for possessing his medical marijuana on campus. Not only did this decision allow college and university medical marijuana patients to possess their medicine without fear of arrest, it also affirmed that the Arizona legislature had violated the Arizona Voter Protection Act (1998) by altering the intentions of the AMMA with legislation outlawing possession of medical marijuana on college campuses in 2012.
  • Fought for the Right of Patients to Possess Concentrates under the AMMA: Tom won a pivotal case as amicus curiae counsel in front of the Arizona Supreme Court, overturning the ruling which stated that any form of marijuana outside of leaves or flower, such as resin or hashish, was illegal. The appellate court majority had ruled that the AMMA did not intend to legalize “cannabis”, but only marijuana leaves/flower. Thanks to the victory in the Arizona v. Jones (Jones II) case, medical patients once again had legal access to concentrates, tinctures, and edibles.

State v. Jones

  • Fought to Overturn a Caregiver’s Conviction for Possession of Manufacturing Equipment: Tom fought to have a caregiver’s conviction of possession of manufacturing equipment overturned by the Arizona Court of Appeals after having been found not guilty of a long list of other cannabis-related charges (money laundering, production, possession of narcotic drugs, etc.).


Landmark Reform Cases

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