Governor Jan Brewer’s lawsuit towards Arizona’s medical marijuana regulation took a beating immediately in federal court, the place a decide advised the state’s legal professionals to select a aspect on the difficulty.
Brewer and her authorized enforcer in the case, state Attorney General Tom Horne, campaigned towards Prop 203 earlier than voters handed it and later focused it with a lawsuit. Brewer additionally ordered the state to reject purposes for medical-marijuana dispensaries, a state of affairs that has left about 16,000 state-qualified pot sufferers with no handy supply of “medicine.”
Brewer and Horne, nevertheless, don’t have the chutzpah to truly argue towards the voter-approved regulation — one thing that could possibly be politically harmful. When they turned to federal court in May for a declaratory judgment on whether or not the brand new regulation was authorized, they argued that the “controversy” was a no brainer as a result of marijuana is against the law beneath federal regulation.
Their lawsuit depends on the creation of 20 fictitious defendants — 10 who consider the brand new state regulation violates federal regulation, and 10 who don’t consider it — to bolster their place that a dispute exists.
But Bolton stated right now that she deliberate to dismiss all the fictitious defendants, including that the tactic can’t “persist” in federal court.
Arizona would wish to decide on which aspect it’s on earlier than the go well with can proceed, Bolton informed Lori Davis, an assistant lawyer common.
The courtroom’s viewing benches, mockingly, have been crowded with actual opponents. Carolyn Short was there — she’s the marijuana prohibitionist who steered to Horne in January that he should file for declaratory judgment. So have been medical marijuana entrepreneur Al Sobol, Prop 203′s PR man Joe Yuhas and a number of other supporters of the dispensary business.
Bolton was extremely skeptical of the state’s argument. In a nutshell, the Brewer and Horne are arguing that the state officers who would regulate dispensaries danger getting busted by the feds. Lawyers for the U.S.
Justice Department, in yet one more irony (contemplating Obama’s crackdown on medical weed in California), take the place that Arizona’s regulation doesn’t essentially threaten state staff. They need Brewer’s case tossed out.
Davis, echoing motions the state has filed in the case over the previous few months, famous that U.S. Attorneys in different states have despatched letters that suggest state staff are in danger.
“You haven’t gotten any such letter from a U.S. Attorney in Arizona, have you?” Bolton requested. Davis advised the decide that former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke beforehand stated he couldn’t grant immunity or give “state harbor” to state staff. (She unnoticed the half in which he additionally stated he didn’t intend to prosecute state staff.)
“At the minimum,” Bolton informed her, “Don’t I have to force you to amend which side you’re on? Because you have to take a side… You’re going to have to pick at some point.” After the listening to, Davis tells New Times that the state should determine whether or not it needs to do what Bolton asks. Yuhas, spokesman for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, whose rules put Prop 203 on the poll, says he’s optimistic that immediately’s listening to “will lead to a decision that will allow us to move forward.”
He means shifting ahead on the opening of dozens of dispensaries in Arizona, as authorised underneath the regulation. Now, the “piecemeal” strategy to rolling out the regulation has led, amongst different issues, to 16,000 sufferers who’ve the authorized potential to develop their very own — a state of affairs that Yuhas sees as probably uncontrolled.
Arizona’s medical pot regulation provides state-qualified sufferers the proper to develop as much as 12 crops every until a dispensary is open inside 25 miles. For now, there are not any dispensaries.
Yuhas acknowledged that even when Brewer’s lawsuit is stopped in its tracks, the dispensary purposes nonetheless wouldn’t be accepted with out Brewer’s okay.
By Ray Stern