|Photo: News Real Blog|
|Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will not defend her state's medical marijuana law, approved by the voters last November. Instead this asswig is asking the feds for instructions on how to run her own state. Nice "leadership" there, Jan.|
Redundant Lawsuit Supposedly Aims To Establish Federal Legality
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne announced that they are filing a lawsuit in federal court to challenge the medical marijuana program established in Arizona by the passage of Proposition 203 last November.
Even though the law was passed by a majority of Arizona voters, the governor and attorney general will not defend the law and instead asked the courts to decide if it is illegal under federal law.
"We are deeply frustrated by this announcement," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "The law Governor Brewer wants enjoined established an extremely well thought-out and conservative medical marijuana system."
|Rob Kampia, MPP: "She has done a disservice to her state and its citizens"|
"The law was drafted so that a very limited number of non-profit dispensaries would serve the needs of patients who would be registered with the state," Kampia said. "Governor Brewer is trying to disrupt this orderly system and replace it with relative chaos.
"Patients would not purchase their medicine at state-regulated dispensaries," Kampia pointed out. "Instead, they or their caregivers would grow marijuana in homes across the state. Some will even be forced to find their medicine on the streets.
"We cannot think of a single individual -- aside from possibly illegal drug dealers -- who would benefit from Governor Brewer's actions today," Kampia said. "She has done a disservice to her state and its citizens."
Despite the effort and resources already devoted to implementing the program, Gov. Brewer ordered state health officials not to certify any more patients until the legality of the program is established in court.
|Karen O'Keefe, MPP: "Like the previous attempt, we expect her suit to fail"|
"Gov. Brewer's lawsuit is not the first time elected officials have sought to spend taxpayer money to try to overturn a state medical marijuana law," said Karen O'Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project and the co-drafter of Proposition 203.
"Like the previous attempt, we expect her suit to fail," O'Keefe said. "In 2005, San Diego County sought to enjoin most provisions of California's medical marijuana law, including a provision requiring counties to issue ID cards to patients and providers. It proceeded despite a poll finding that 78 percent of voters thought the lawsuit would be a waste of money. Ultimately, every court ruled against the county or refused to hear the case, all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Similarly, the only decision on whether the licensing of dispensaries would be federally preempted has also found it would not be," O'Keefe said.
"It looks like Jan Brewer is having a contest with San Diego County to see who can waste the most taxpayer money on a futile attempt to overturn the will of voters."
Brewer used a similar cop-out to the one recently employed by Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, claiming that she "fears people could wind up in legal trouble" if Arizona's medical marijuana law is implemented.
Brewer cited a letter from Dennis Burke, the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, which she said appeared to be a warning that anyone involved -- from patients and dispensary operators to landlords and even state health officials -- could wind up being arrested and prosecuted by his office.
"And I, as governor, am not willing to put those people at risk," she said.
About 4,000 Arizonans are already certified under state law to be able to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.
The Arizona Department of Health Services put up this notice on its website, reports Ray Stern at Phoenix New Times:
We understand that the Governor and the Attorney General are preparing to file a declaratory judgment in federal court regarding the implementation of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. When further information is available, ADHS will update you. Until then, the Department will continue to issue Qualifying Patient and Designated Caregiver Registry Cards on our website.
An injunction could mean a delay to the state's planned issuing of marijuana dispensary next month, reports Howard Fischer at the Arizona Daily Star.