Giving up her idea of suing the federal government over Arizona’s medical marijuana law, Governor Jan Brewer said Friday she is directing the state health department to start accepting applications for cannabis dispensaries.
A suit filed by Brewer and her attorney general was dismissed by a federal judge on January 4. The complaint, filed back in May, sought “clarification” on whether state employees who license medical marijuana dispensaries could themselves face federal prosecution.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that state officials faced no such threat, and threw the suit out. The governors of Washington and Rhode Island have cited similar reasons — claiming they feared state employees would be federally prosecuted — for vetoing or delaying dispensaries in their states.
“Plaintiffs have not shown that any action against state employees in this state is imminent or even threatened,” Bolton wrote. She gave Arizona the option to refile with more evidence.
|Americans for Safe Access|
|Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer: “I have directed the Arizona Department of Health Services to begin accepting and processing dispensary applications, and issuing licenses for those facilities”|
But Governor Brewer, who has staunchly opposed the state’s medical marijuana law, despite the fact that voters approved it, said on Friday that the state will not refile the suit, reports Dylan Smith of the Tucson Sentinel.
“Instead, I have directed the Arizona Department of Health Services to begin accepting and processing dispensary applications, and issuing licenses for those facilities once a pending legal challenge to the Department’s medical marijuana rules is resolved,” Brewer said in a press release.
“I also have sent a letter to Ann Birmingham Scheel, acting U.S. Attorney for Arizona, notifying her of the State’s action at this time and — one again — seeking assurance and clarification as to the federal government’s position regarding State employee participation in the licensing or regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries,” Brewer said.
“It is well-known that I did not support passage of Proposition 203, and I remain concerned about potential abuses of the law,” Brewer said. “But the State’s legal challenge was based on my legitimate concern that state employees may find themselves at risk of federal prosecution for their role in administering dispensary licenses under this law.”
“Know this: I won’t hesitate to halt State involvement in the AMMA if I receive indication that State employees face prosecution due to their duties in administering this law,” Brewer said.