from the Superior Court in Maricopa County, No.
LC2017-000413-001, The Honorable Patricia A. Starr, Judge.
W. Dean, Attorney at Law, Phoenix, By Thomas W. Dean, Counsel
& Howard, L.L.C., Phoenix, By Gregory W. Falls, Matthew A.
Hesketh, Counsel for Defendant/Appellee
Judge James B. Morse Jr. delivered the opinion of the Court,
in which Judge Jon W. Thompson and Vice Chief Judge Peter B.
A conviction for a felony violation of a state controlled
substance law can be a bar to becoming a dispensary agent
under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act ("AMMA").
In Arizona, preparatory offenses are distinct from, but
defined by, a substantive offense. We consider whether a
conviction for solicitation to commit possession of a
dangerous drug for sale is a violation of a state controlled
substance law. Affirming the superior courts judgment, we
hold that it is.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In June 2009, Mark Murro pled guilty to solicitation to
commit possession of a dangerous drug for sale. The court
suspended sentence and imposed probation, from which Murro
was discharged in November 2011. In 2010, voters enacted the
AMMA, which authorizes the Department of Health Services
("DHS") to approve a person to become a dispensary
State v. Gear, 239 Ariz. 343, 344, ¶ 2, 372 P.3d
287, 288 (2016); Ariz. Rev. Stat. ("A.R.S.") §
36-2804.01. In 2017, Murro applied for a dispensary agent
registry identification card. In his application, Murro
stated that he had not been convicted of an "excluded
felony offense," and subsequently was approved for a
dispensary agent registry identification card. After a few
months, DHS discovered his conviction for solicitation to
commit possession of a dangerous drug for sale. DHS sent
Murro a Notice of Intent to Revoke Dispensary Agents
Registry Identification Card and Notice of Right to Request
Administrative Hearing. The Notice alleged that Murro was
convicted of an excluded felony offense and had knowingly
violated the AMMA by submitting false information in his
application and acting as a dispensary agent when he was not
qualified to do so.
Murro requested a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ"), and the ALJ upheld DHSs decision to
revoke Murros identification card. Murro appealed to the
Director of DHS ("Director"), who adopted the ALJs
findings of fact and conclusions of law with minor revisions
and revoked Murros identification card. Murro appealed to
the superior court, which affirmed the Directors decision.
We have jurisdiction pursuant to A.R.S. § § 12-913 and
We will uphold the Directors decision unless it is
"contrary to law, is not supported by substantial
evidence, is arbitrary and capricious or is an abuse of
discretion." A.R.S. § 12-910(E). Statutory
interpretation is a question of law that we review de novo.
Id.; see alsoCompassionate Care
Dispensary, Inc. v. Arizona Dept of Health Services,244 Ariz. 205, 211, ¶ 17, 418 P.3d 978, 984 (App. 2018).
"[W]hen considering the voters intent in enacting the
AMMA, our task is to apply the law they have written."
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