Judge orders Ariz. to proceed on pot dispensaries

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX (AP) -- An Arizona judge says the state must proceed with allowing creation of dispensaries authorized by its voter-approved medical marijuana law, a step that may remove a major impediment to full implementation.

The order issued late Wednesday by Judge Richard Gama of Maricopa County Superior Court overturns some of the state's planned restrictions on who can qualify for dispensary licenses, including restrictions based on residency and financial background.

Would-be dispensary operators challenged both Gov. Jan Brewer's decision to not award dispensary licenses and the restrictions in the state's dispensary rules.

Brewer can appeal Gama's ruling. A spokesman did not immediate return a call for comment Thursday.

The state implemented parts of the law, allowing people to possess and use marijuana for medical purposes.