Arizona Sues Feds Over Medical Marijuana

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer filed a federal declaratory action suit today against the Department of Justice, Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and some medical marijuana groups, asking the court to rule whether Arizona's medical marijuana law is valid when federal law prohibits it. The complaint is here and the exhibits with the letters from U.S. Attorneys and DOJ memos are here.

Despite the Governor's claimed and transparently false concern that Arizona's law puts state workers at risk of federal prosecution, medical marijuana advocates say the lawsuit is designed to thwart the state law. Yesterday, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke said that despite the threat of the lawsuit, which now has been filed, medical marijuana in AZ is not at risk and Gov. Brewer is distorting the facts. [More....]

The Eastern Arizona Courier notes:

In her press release, Brewer said she is ordering the lawsuit to protect state employees who are charged with issuing medical marijuana patient cards and dispensary licenses and questions the Arizona Department of Public Safety's ability to maintain federal grant monies due to the law.

Governor Brewer isn't fooling anyone. She's trying to supplant the will of Arizona voters with her own views.

The ACLU will defend the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association (AzMMA) and the constitutionality of Arizona's medical marijuana law. More from them here.

More indications the lawsuit is a smokescreen: Patients in AZ can use and possess medical marijuana without a state card. So the state can refuse to issue cards, and it won't affect patients' rights.

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  • Display: Sort:
    what's wrong with clarifying? (none / 0) (#1)
    by diogenes on Fri May 27, 2011 at 09:27:45 PM EST
    "...asking the court to rule whether Arizona's medical marijuana law is valid when federal law prohibits it."

    Isn't this a good thing to clarify in advance?

    My thinking is (none / 0) (#2)
    by JamesTX on Fri May 27, 2011 at 10:19:32 PM EST
    it will end the complacency, even if it stalls the hopes of some people temporarily. This problem has to be solved at the federal level. The CSA is a problem, and it is not going away even if some things are allowed under the radar. States can still have their laws but not try to regulate with state employees. Good move! That is what we need anyway -- get the government out of medical treatment.

    The CSA needs to be changed, in many more ways than one. It harms many people. Medicalization of marijuana is not going to make it easier to obtain under the current philosophy of the regulators who would see it as a drug with high potential for abuse even if it is removed from Schedule I. The law is broken, and it needs to be completely updated to reflect more current understanding of drug use.

    And furthermore, (none / 0) (#3)
    by JamesTX on Fri May 27, 2011 at 10:55:28 PM EST
    it is better summed up by Szasz:

    "My aim [...] is to show that the effort to medicalize life is not only cognitively ill-conceived, it is also politically perilous. Conflict is intrinsic to human existence.  Regulating disagreements as if they were diseases is a recipe for forfeiting liberty in pursuit of an illusory therapeutic paradise on earth."

    Szasz, Thomas (2001). Pharmacracy: Medicine and Politics in America. Westport, CT: Praeger Pubishers.

    Knowing Brewer (none / 0) (#4)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat May 28, 2011 at 12:55:08 AM EST
    and her AG, I think instead it's that she's become addicted to the image of the tough Arizonan who spits in the face of the feds, whatever the issue is.  The voters seem to like it, but more importantly Brewer likes the self image.

    Not the impression I get.... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by kdog on Sat May 28, 2011 at 09:33:00 AM EST
    I think she is cowering to the feds here, against the will of the people of her state...seems to me her faux concern for the state employees doing the people of Arizona's work, as authorized by the people of Arizona, is her way of trying to further criminalize marijuana.  It's a new way of wailing 'what about the children!' if you catch my drift.

    She isn't flipping the feds the bird, she is looking for help to recriminalize medical marijuana without a vote.  

    Not that I think the inalienable right to partake and/or medicate yourself should be subject to majority rule or anything...it's crazy but it's where we are.  


    Don't Forget Her Hubby... (none / 0) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:37:21 PM EST
    ... has ties to Private Corrections Inc.  

    They need criminals to prosper, first it was making the undocumented actually criminal, now it's weed smokers.  Bodies for profit, who's next ?


    Seems to me a better drafter complaint (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Sat May 28, 2011 at 02:00:05 PM EST
    with those benefiting medically from mj, seeking an injunction and dec. relief might be effective, if, in fact, the evidence is clear there is medical benefit from smoking mj. and its non-addictiveness.