Arizona Governor's Medical Marijuana Lawsuit Dismissed

A federal judge Wednesday threw out a lawsuit filed on behalf of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) that had blocked the implementation of the state's voter-approved medical marijuana dispensary program. Brewer and state health officials had sued to ask the court for clarification about whether the state's medical marijuana law was preempted by federal drug laws, saying they feared going forward would put state employees at risk of federal prosecution.

But US District Court Judge Susan Bolton dismissed the lawsuit, saying the state had not shown that federal prosecutors there had threatened to prosecute state or local employees for following the law, nor had it shown that any harm would come absent a ruling from the court.

"Plaintiffs do not challenge any specific action taken by any defendant," Bolton wrote. "Plaintiffs also do not describe any actions by state employees that were in violation of (the Controlled Substances Act) or any threat of prosecution for any reason by federal officials. These issues, as presented, are not appropriate for judicial review."

Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson told the Arizona Republic the governor was consulting with Attorney General Tom Horne before deciding whether to appeal. He also criticized the decision.

"What this court has essentially said is that it won't hear the state's lawsuit unless and until a state employee faces federal prosecution for enforcing Proposition 203," Benson said. "The federal court has essentially punted on the issue."

The ruling came in response to a motion to dismiss filed by the ACLU, which welcomed the decision and called on Brewer to quit being an obstacle.

“It is unconscionable for Gov. Brewer to continue to force very sick people to needlessly suffer by stripping them of the legal avenue through which to obtain their vital medicine," said Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project. "Today's ruling underscores the need for state officials to stop playing politics and implement the law as approved by a majority of Arizona voters so that thousands of patients can access the medicine their doctors believe is most effective for them."

Under Arizona's medical marijuana law, passed in 2010, patients registered with the state are supposed to be able to obtain medical marijuana from tightly-regulated dispensaries, but that hasn't happened yet. Now, one more hurdle has been removed.

Phoenix, AZ
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Someone needs to tell Matthew

Someone needs to tell Matthew Benson that the federal government did not punt on the issue but that they were acting consistently with earlier court decisions.  The attorney general's office failed to heed earlier decisions and our attorney general failed to read them as he has spent the last few years ruining the schools in Arizona (as state school superintendent) rather than practicing law.  Fortunately those who wrote the law passed by the voters envisioned a well regulated dispensary system that appears to be favored by the feds.  It remains to be seen whether this small group of thugs that attempted to overturn the will of the people on this issue will continue to do so openly as elections approach. They also attempted to attack an initiative regarding voter redistricting and want to continue to fight the feds on immigration issues.  There is one thing that Tom Horne couldn't buy with a Harvard education.  That one thing is wisdom.  I hope that Tom Horne is learning that he is the attorney for the people of the state of Arizona and not just for those who wish to overturn elections with a single vote.  The people will remember the actions of those who attempted to hijack the vote.  What part of public servant do they not understand as they continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us in the good state of Arizona?  

ma$$ive health cost savings on horizon

I think we can assume these politicians are following the "theory" that medical MJ is a foot-in-the-door to promote legalization-- which in fact means easier access for everybody to a known SAFER alternative to high-profit addictive tobacco cigarettes, and long-term $$billions in health care savings!  

The state is presently ADDICTED to the cigarette tax money which could be drasticly reduced if legal cannabis resulted in also legalizing downdosage "paraphernalia" such as a 25-mg single toke utensil, replacing 500-mg joints and "blunts", 700-mg cigarettes etc.

To keep the pols (esp. Republican "drug" warriors) from freaking out over that revenue loss, in my view a big nasty cannabis tax is acceptable for a time because, after the great reduction in cannabis price due to eliminating law enforcement warfare, we may still be paying much less than now even if heavily taxed.

PS, re picture: a  $600 Volcano is great, and worth the price considering that some cigarette addicts spend $600 in 2 months on their habit; but today we know you can, by holding the lighter flame far enough below the bowl opening, effectively VAPORIZE with a long-stemmed one-hitter which costs pennies to make from stuff lying around in your garage.  Please sign in as editor at wikiHow.com and edit and improve article, "Make Smoke Pipes from Everyday Objects".

Huge health care $$avings ahead

I think we can assume these politicians are following the "theory" that medical MJ is a foot-in-the-door to promote legalization-- which in fact means easier access for everybody to a known SAFER alternative to high-profit addictive tobacco cigarettes, and long-term $$billions in health care savings!  

The state is presently ADDICTED to the cigarette tax money which could be drasticly reduced if legal cannabis resulted in also legalizing downdosage "paraphernalia" such as a 25-mg single toke utensil, replacing 500-mg joints and "blunts", 700-mg cigarettes etc.

To keep the pols (esp. Republican "drug" warriors) from freaking out over that revenue loss, in my view a big nasty cannabis tax is acceptable for a time because, after the great reduction in cannabis price due to eliminating law enforcement warfare, we may still be paying much less than now even if heavily taxed.

PS, re picture: a  $600 Volcano is great, and worth the price considering that some cigarette addicts spend $600 in 2 months on their habit; but today we know you can, by holding the lighter flame far enough below the bowl opening, effectively VAPORIZE with a long-stemmed one-hitter which costs pennies to make from stuff lying around in your garage.  Please sign in as editor at wikiHow.com and edit and improve article, "Make Smoke Pipes from Everyday Objects".

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