What impact does federal crackdown on marijuana have on AZ's medicinal program?

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The federal government is taking a hard-line stance against marijuana programs. Arizona is one of 29 states that have approved medicinal or recreational marijuana laws.

[Original story: US to end policy that let legal pot flourish]

"We're simply reverting back to where we were when Arizona's law started," said JP Holyoak, who owns a grow facility that supplies Arizona Natural Selections, a medical marijuana facility.

He's reeling after attorney general Jeff Sessions' announcement Thursday, rolling back an Obama-era policy that took allowed states to legalize marijuana without federal intervention. Now, Sessions said U.S. Attorneys should treat those cases like any other case.

"This is the federal government coming in and telling states, 'No, sorry, we don’t like the laws your state passed and we know better than what your state does,'" Holyoak said.

So what does this mean for his business?

"The idea of feds coming in and shutting down a state legal business is probably unlikely, but certainly remains within the realm of possibility," Holyoak said.

Holyoak added that if the federal government wants to shut down the program, patients will just go to the black market. 

"It simply takes this and puts it back in the hands of criminals and criminal organizations," Holyoak said.

"The pot industry wants people to think that marijuana is harmless, it is not," said Yavapai county attorney Sheila Polk. She told us that the patchwork system we have now from state to state is chaotic.  

"I think these are debates that need to happen at the federal level, and that’s how democracy works," Polk said.

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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