Arizona Governor, AG Playing Politics With Medical Marijuana


The Weed Blog
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer won’t allow medical marijuana dispensaries to open in her state, and now she’s trying to shut down the clubs that opened to provide safe access while patients wait for dispensaries.

​The lawyer for one of Arizona’s medical marijuana clubs on Friday accused the governor and state attorney general of conspiring to undermine the voter-approved initiative legalizing cannabis for medicinal use.

“We believe that there’s a clear and blatant pattern that has transpired over the last few months,” said Thomas Dean, reports Howard Fischer at Capitol Media Services. Dean said that both Gov. Jan Brewer and Atty. Gen. Tom Horne had worked to stymie the will of the voters.
“There’s plenty of evidence that it was done in a way that was conspiratorial, fraudulent,” Dean told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean Fink.
Dean told the judge he wants to question both Gov. Brewer and Atty. Gen. Horne under oath to prove his point.
But that’s not going to happen, at least not in the way Dean envisions, Assistant Attorney General Lori Davis told the judge.

Davis claimed she could provide stipulations “verifying the accuracy” of public statements both Brewer and Horne have made about medical marijuana.

James King/Phoenix New Times
Whack-job Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne says those who think he’s blocking medical marijuana are the same people “who sees black helicopters from Mars.”

​”But if they’re wanting to get into political leanings and whether they oppose it or support it, I don’t think that’s appropriate for this,” Davis told the judge.
The only issue before the court is whether the clubs can legally operate, Davis said, making the views of the governor and the attorney general irrelevant.
She claimed Dean’s request to question the officials under oath is “a political, media move.”
Meanwhile, Dean argued that what he hopes to discover will show state officials acted improperly in trying to shut down his client’s medical marijuana club along with several others.
That would allow the clubs to argue Brewer and Horne have “unclean hands,” a legal concept that can be used to ask a court to declare that the state is not legally entitled to shut down the clubs.

Josh Biggs/Arizona Daily Sun
Lawyer Thomas Dean says Arizona officials acted improperly in trying to shut down his client’s medical marijuana club, along with several others

​Safe access for patients around Arizona is hanging in the balance as the court decides whether the marijuana clubs — which sprung up around the state last year when dispensary openings were delayed by Gov. Brewer and Atty. Gen. Horne — can remain open.
Proposition 203 spells out that those who have a doctor’s authorization can obtain up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks. The law was supposed to put in place a network of dispensaries where those with doctors’ authorizations could buy cannabis.
But Gov. Brewer, after meeting with Atty. Gen. Horne, blocked the state health department from even taking applications for the dispensaries.
That led to formation of the medical marijuana clubs where people can go to get free marijuana from those who have donated their excess crop.
The state responded with a lawsuit to shut the clubs.
David claimed on Friday that the clubs are selling marijuana, something that remains illegal for anyone who is not defined as a “dispensary.” She claimed the exchange of money occurs at the door, as the only way for patients to get in the club is to pay a membership fee or a one-time admission charge.
See the Catch-22 there? Patients can’t have safe access unless it’s from a dispensary, and Gov. Brewer refuses to allow dispensaries to open.
Dean and lawyers for other clubs say they fit within the exception allowing “person-to-person transfer” of marijuana if no money changes hands for the cannabis.
Judge Fink, who will decide whether the clubs can remain open, “seemed unconvinced” that Brewer’s and Horne’s views on medical marijuana are relevant to the question, Fischer reported.
“For sake of argument, assuming that the governor and the attorney general’s office are so against this law that they’re willing to do whatever it is you think they’re doing, that’s not going to make what’s happening at the clubs either legal or illegal,” the judge told Dean. Doesn’t sound too promising, there.
The judge then brushed aside Dean’s claims that politics has entered into the issue. “There are clearly political issues in almost everything we deal with,” Judge Fink said.
“But the fact of the matter is, the politics of it isn’t what I have to focus on,” the judge continued. “It’s the law: What did the voters pass and what is happening in the clubs, and is that consistent or inconsistent with what the voters have allowed?”
Governor Brewer was quick to pooh-pooh any suggestion that she and Attorney General Horne are conspiring the thwart the will of Arizona’s voters.
“That’s probably one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard of,” the governor lied.
Brewer claims she blocked the dispensaries’ opening because she’s concerned about federal prosecution of state-licensed dispensary employees — which has never happened in any medical marijuana state, even once.
Attorney General Horne also poked fun at the accusation, saying those who see a conspiracy are the same people “who see black helicopters from Mars.”
A trial is not likely to occur before next year.