ACLU to Defend Medical Marijuana Law Against Legal Attack by Governor Jan Brewer

Categories: Medical Weed







Governor Jan Brewer followed through today on her threat to attack the voter-approved medical marijuana law.

Governor Jan Brewer followed through today on her threat to attack Arizona's voter-approved medical marijuana law, but advocates of democracy are fighting back.


Numerous defendants have signed on to oppose Brewer's suit, including the backers of Prop 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association. The American Civil Liberties Union will cover the legal defense for the AzMMA, according to a news release just sent out (see below).

The lawsuit (also below) sets out the half-baked theory that Arizona needs the feds to tell it what do about its own law. Several letters by U.S. Attorneys from Arizona and other states are attached as exhibits.

Brewer's cover story has been that the letters prove her lawsuit is necessary to protect state workers from getting busted for rolling out Arizona's medical weed program. The reality seems to be that the conservative governor and her pals are using the feds' threat to move against a law they've hated from the beginning.

The suit seeks a ruling on whether Arizona's law provides a "safe harbor from federal prosecution, or in the alternative, whether the AMMA is preempted by the Controlled Substances Act ("CSA") and federal law."

But Brewer and her enforcer in this action, state Attorney General Tom Horne, already know the answers are "no" and "no." And they knew those answers before the U.S. Attorneys started mailing their threat letters.

The fact is, voters knew before they approved the law that marijuana is against federal law, and would remain against federal law after the passage of Prop 203. This law breaks new ground and symbolizes, as much as anything, the modern struggle between states' rights and federal authorities.

If Brewer wasn't so biased against medical marijuana, she'd let the feds make their first move, then criticize them for thwarting the will of the people. Instead, she's thwarting the will of the people.

Joe Yuhas, spokesman for the AzMMA, says that by lending the group's name to the list of defendants, the pro-medical-pot association will be better able to monitor every step of this process.

"We're confident that at the end of the day, the suit will be dismissed," Yuhas says. He doesn't mean today, of course -- he expects the fight to continue for at least a few weeks.

In the meantime, it's clear this means a delay for the fledgling marijuana dispensary industry, Yuhas adds.

The Arizona Department of Health Services was set to start taking dispensary applications this coming Wednesday, but Brewer indicated she won't allow the state to authorize any dispensaries until a federal court rules on the legality of the law. The DHS Web site now states that no dispensary applications will be accepted in June.

Qualified patients, however, may still obtain registration cards that allow them possess up to two-and-a-half ounces of marijuana legally, no matter where they get it. Patients can also legally grow up to 12 plants in their homes until a dispensary opens up within 25 miles.

Most patients don't have the patience to play the role of farmer, though, so the dispensaries remain key to the success of Arizona's program -- just the way voters wanted it.

------


Heres' the ACLU's complete news release:

PHOENIX - The American Civil Liberties Union today agreed to represent the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association (AzMMA) in order to defend the constitutionality of Arizona's medical marijuana law.


The move comes on the heels of an announcement today by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer that she has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, a number of potential dispensary applicants under the law and others seeking a ruling from a federal court that the Arizona law is preempted by federal law and should be struck down. A non-profit, membership-based professional association that seeks to advance the interests of Arizona's medical marijuana profession and the patients it serves, AzMMA is a named defendant in Brewer's lawsuit.


"By taking the highly unusual step of challenging her own state's law, Gov. Brewer is undermining the will of Arizona voters and unconscionably seeking to prevent thousands of sick Arizonans from being able to access important medicine," said Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. "People should have the freedom to choose the medicine their doctors believe is most effective for them."


A majority of Arizona voters in 2010 passed Proposition 203, which allows terminally and seriously ill patients in Arizona who find relief from marijuana to use it with a doctor's recommendation. The law allows marijuana to be distributed by tightly regulated clinics to patients with state-issued registry cards, and creates penalties for false statements and fraudulent cards.


Brewer's lawsuit charges that Arizona's medical marijuana law is in conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act and that the court should declare the law preempted under federal law. The lawsuit claims that Arizona officials fear federal prosecution for implementing the law, even though U.S. Attorney Burke has stated publicly in recent days that the federal government has "no intention of targeting or going after people who are implementing or who are in compliance with state law."


Three appellate decisions in California have previously rejected claims that California's medical marijuana law is preempted by federal law. And earlier this month the Oregon Supreme Court backed away from its previous ruling that a part of Oregon's medical marijuana law is preempted by federal law.


"Contrary to the governor's claims, the federal Controlled Substances Act includes an explicit provision permitting states to adopt their own drug laws," said Scott Michelman, staff attorney with the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project.


Any delay in the implementation of Proposition 203 could pave the way for the unregulated cultivation and distribution of marijuana. A provision of the law allows patients to grow their own medical marijuana if they reside more than 25 miles from the nearest licensed and regulated dispensary. If dispensaries are not allowed to be established on schedule, thousands of people in Arizona who have received registry cards from the state could be able to grow their own marijuana. Patients would also be able to become registered merely by having a doctor's recommendation and would no longer have to obtain a registry card from the state.


"Halting a regulated dispensary program would simply provide more business to drug cartels and put patients at risk by forcing them back into the black market," said Joe Yuhas, a representative of AzMMA. "Failing to implement Proposition 203 would waste taxpayers' money, thwart the will of the voters and leave a reasonable and regulated medical marijuana program vulnerable to being exploited."


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Complaint Amma


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55 comments
Escapebail
Escapebail

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ExpertShot
ExpertShot

The entire purpose of our government is to allow the people to pursue their own happiness.  The laws against the recreational use of any substance is unconstitutional.  To try to stop this pursuit of happiness flies in the face of everything this country stands for.  These anti-recreational drug people are worse than the most bitter enemy of the United States on this planet and they are enemies of our constitution and way of life.  It is they who should be arrested and put in jails and subjected to humiliation. 

Free the euphoria producing substances and allow the free market to operate in this area - we soon will find a company will create a good, effective, safe, non-addicting recreational drug produced with the same quality as we get in our aspirin.

TheDeacon
TheDeacon

Jan Brewer (with that name no wonder she is against good health & Medical Cannabis no question) is intentionally delaying and attempting to thwart the Medical Cannabis Laws desired by the people of Arizona. She is governing her own opinion rather than that of a Cannabis Educated person. Jan Brewer is a Federal Government Reefer Madness Educated Person. Her opinion on Medical Marijuana is of no value as it is a bigoted one.

John
John

So it is with alcohol..... Big Business can sell you booze but try to still yer own shine....Greed and Control know no boundaries .....or borders....

Joeg
Joeg

The people passed the law and now she wants to make the law her own. Nice!

Lalala
Lalala

Dude, guys... come on just admit it.  You don't want to smoke weed for medical reasons.  You just want to get high.  

Poop
Poop

I have no opinion on this subject, but I do have to say you did a remarkable job on crafting your language to make people sound worse than they probably are. 

"Governor Jan Brewer followed through today on her threat to attack Arizona's voter-approved medical marijuana law, but advocates of democracy are fighting back." 

"Governor Jan Brewer followed through today on her threat to attack the voter-approved medical marijuana law."

Beautiful example for how to create outrage through journalism.  Tip of the hat to ya!

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the bookchuck
the bookchuck

You can bet if this was about guns, the direction of the suit would indeed be reversed, as some have pointed out the SB1070 suit demonstrates. Hmm, it's all about freedom and liberty and the constitution and states' rights and the peoples' will...until it isn't...

Governor Jan, thy name is hypocrite. Where's that tenacious nature that is so evident when the issue needing litigating is a no-brainer, red meat conservative issue? Surprise! This actually is one, as well; you just don't recognize it as such. Every freedom-loving citizen who is sick to death of seeing the 'drug war' shred parts of our society, for the profits of a few and to the detriment of many, understands what is happening here better than you. Those with true compassion get it, as well. When the people speak, especially through their vote, wise politicians will listen. Shame on you and may this cost you dearly among your true patriot constituents.

TeoBuneo
TeoBuneo

Impeach Brewer, recall Horne!

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ZeroTollerance4BS
ZeroTollerance4BS

They have no intention of stopping the law, they would love that, but must realize that the people won't stand for it. Their obvious tactic it to simply stall and try to tie things up in the legal system for as long as possible to keep things from moving forward. Thomas Horne and the rest of his cronies on the state legal team make it their business to thwart any movements towards progress in this issue. AZ's zero tollerance dui laws should be getting far more spotlight than I've seen them recieve. Under current AZ law any person caught driving with metabolites of MJ in thier blood or urine is guilty of dui regardless of actually being intoxicated at the time. That's right, you could smoke today and in three weeks an officer could say he smells weed and charge you with a dui. They got me for about 10k on that very charge so I know all too well.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

I think it would be a great idea, if this action does derail the MMJ prop., to put a prop on the next ballot which makes people jump through the same hoops to get their drug....ALCOHOL. First, close the bars since it will be illegal to use alcohol in a public place. 2. limit the number of liquor stores to the same as the number of pot dispensaries allowed. 3. Tell people that, if they are more than 25 miles from a liquor store, they can operate a still BUT, they can only make 1 bottle of liquor per week. 4. they must get a recommendation from a Dr. stating that they need this drug. 5. possession of alcohol without state permission would be a felony.I'm also open to suggestions for more rules to put on Jan and the rest of the redneck peckerwood drunks in this state.

Robert Petersen
Robert Petersen

Brewer makes me happy to have Schweitzer and that's just sad.

Dannyboyardee
Dannyboyardee

This 'complaint' by Horne and Brewer will be immediately dismissed...... No State Official has been charged by the Feds. There is no 'Crime', so there can't be a Court Hearing.

They will have to wait until the Feds actually charge a State Official, and that's not going to happen. The Courts will not be happy that their time is being wasted by trying to get them to  rule on a 'crime' that has not happened. Courts don't work that way. "Bring me someone who's been charged".

Hmph.
Hmph.

Let's get Arizona to not pay for organ transplants to save a little money, but let's deny the revenue from Marijuana simply because I'm an ignorant bitch

Aurajamin
Aurajamin

Keep calling it "weed" and the problem will continue.  Its CANNABIS or HEMP. Part of the reason the country is so brainwashed is because we aren't calling the plant by it's proper name.  The deception passed upon us by Hearst and Co. is that it's some sort of killer plant when in fact it's as harmless as a dandelion (which we also call a "weed")

Coz
Coz

Funny how GED Brewer will will ask the Feds for their ruling on this but not SB 1070.

Two faced fucking bitch is all she is.

Joe
Joe

This would be more interesting if Andy boy was AG and Jan's lap dog.

Jason
Jason

It seems to me that Dennis Burke is in the right on this. The Controlled Substances Act will override the Medical Marijuana Act any day of the week merely because it is a federal law, despite the fact that the law was approved by voters. 

The Supremacy Clause, as well as the Commerce Clause to the U.S. Constitution, apply here.  

This frivolous case will result in thousands upon thousands of wasted taxpayer dollars.

Why oh why is this drunken prune and her whiny, self-serving attorney general even in office? 

HighSpeedDirt
HighSpeedDirt

Opposition to medical marijuana legalization is direct support of the violent Mexican cartels and thier moldy, seedy, inferior product. I for one do not want to hear of medical marijuana patients many of whom are already immuno-comprimised ingesting this detrius. Support for MMJ is patriotic compassionate and ALL AMERICAN ...  Happy Memorial Day!

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

This lame action has 0 (zero) chance of shutting down the program. The same ditzy argument was used in County of San Diego v San Diego NORML (2009). They lost.

http://www.iowamedicalmarijuan...

quoted from link:  -----> "In an action in which counties argued that the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMP)  invalid under preemption principles, the trial court concluded that the MMP and the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 were not preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act  and that the MMP was not invalid under the California Constitution. (Superior Court of San Diego County, Nos. GIC860665 and GIC861051, William R. Nevitt, Jr., Judge.)

--------------------

The SCOTUS declined to hear the County's appeal. That's 3 times that the SCOTUS has passed by the opportunity to overturn Cali's medicinal cannabis patient protection laws.

http://articles.sfgate.com/200... 

quoted: "Prop. 215 remains in effect despite federal enforcement efforts that began as soon as it passed. In the counties' case, the court left intact a state ruling last year that said California remains free to decide whether to punish drug users under its own laws.

"The purpose of the (federal law) is to combat recreational drug use, not to regulate a state's medical practices," the Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Diego said in the July 31 decision."

"No longer will local officials be able to hide behind federal law and resist upholding California's medical marijuana law," said Joe Elford, lawyer for Americans for Safe Access, which also took part in the case."

--------------------

It seems Mr. Elford didn't understand just how low some public officials will go in order to promote their own self serving political agendas.

Buddah
Buddah

God made it----I will smoke it----that settles it

WhoKnows
WhoKnows

So, this ditz wants to have the feds to rule if a law is legal, when the feds are now suing AZ because SB1070 isn't legal and she's fighting that?

Is this a before/after the mid morning scotch thing with her?

Conservativechristian1976
Conservativechristian1976

Jesus said to dounto others as we would have them do unto us. None of us would want our childthrown in jail with the sexual predators over a little marijuana. None of uswould want our parent's home confiscated by the police for growing a couple ofplants to ease the aches and pains of growing older. It’s time to let ordinaryAmericans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.  

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

Lalala, you are simply misinformed. The evidence is overwhelming that whole plant cannabis medicine is efficacious and has valid medical utility. Just ask any member of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.http://stopthedrugwar.org/spea...

But really, why the heck would the medicinal cannabis patient protection law help anyone who "just wants to get high"? Are you operating under the lunatic's "reasoning" that there are people who can't find cannabis, that's there's some kind of shortage of cannabis out here?

Those of us who want to get high are already doing so. It would be more accurate to state that those who are in favor of making sick people suffer more than needed just want to keep people from getting high, despite the fact that they just don't have that power.

If the medicinal cannabis patient protection laws were to disappear without a trace at 9 AM tomorrow, the malingering would have headstash in hand by noon. Those patients still have the numbers of their black market cannabis vendors on speed dial. But would the 70, 80, 90 year old patients who weren't involved in the black market fare well in trying to find the shadowy places where the black market cannabis vendors lurk?

What, you don't think there are any patients that old? There's 398 on the Montana registry older than age 71. Oops, that's wrong, they've updated the registry.  398 was last month. This month it's 429 patients older than age 71. See page 5:http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/medica...

jim dasilva
jim dasilva

You are wrong and right. Yes there are going to be people that want to smoke it legally for the sole purpose of getting high. That is what I used to do. On the other hand there are very sick people that it helps greatly. If a few take advantage it is worth it to help the sick people who need it. Do yourself a favor and study the medicinal benefits. Parkinsons video  on youtube is a good one, seizures, cancer patients that can't eat, the list goes on. There are thousands of doctors around the world that agree marijuana has hundreds of medicinal benefits. If you had a sick friend or family member that could benefit you would see things differently.

Michael
Michael

That language only makes Jan Brewer "sound worse" if you're a supporter of democracy. Let's be honest here, any supporter of the GOP is probably not too big on that whole democracy or republic thing to begin with. Democracy is only good for them if it ends with laws dictating precisely their social/economic values to the population at large. They cannot and will not accept the will of the majority if the majority disagrees with them.

Albert
Albert

I’ve wondered that myself. If a legal patient is caught driving and has the presence of a marijuana metabolite in their system… could they be charged? I would say no, the intent of Prop. 203 are to protect the use of MM, and even by blocking employers from discriminating against state approved patients. They made that clear with the language even as far as to protect professionals of the state who have to be licensed by the state. The legislature has gutted protections, and privacy from Prop. 203 with HB2541 and HB2585, but those bills will have to be tossed when challenged. They both go against the intent and will of the voters. So bringing me back to the original problem… could they be charged? Again, the whole zero tolerance law against marijuana metabolites in a drivers system was passed by the legislature, and by the voters passing Prop 203, that added new protections that override the Arizona Legislature’s laws. Other people and non-patients not protected under Prop. 203 could be charged under the current law. I would say…  any other thoughts

Mistalee
Mistalee

It's cannabis mota kif ganga ingrasenz bhang pacalolo weed grass pot griffo herb reefer smoke chronic boo cheeba wacky-tabackie and a whole lot more.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Drunk-driving, weed-hating, two-faced fucking bitch whose saddle-leather face is enough to scare a pitbull off a pork chop. 

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

Please don't try to play lawyer in real life. You're horridly uninformed about the law. You shouldn't even continue trying to play a lawyer on the Internet. If you were to defend yourself in Court it would lend support to the platitude, "A person who represents himself in Court has a fool for a client, and a jackass for an attorney."

Coz
Coz

Voter stupidity. 

TheDeacon
TheDeacon

Good point Luke 6:31 or Matt 7:12 for this is the Law of the Prophets.

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David Schuff
David Schuff

The 25 mile no grow zone was designed solely to give the dispensaries a Monopoly!AZMMA encouraged ADHS to put them all over the state to "block out" patients growing privileges! 203 explicitly excludes growing patients from being able to sell any excess meds to the dispensaries! This only promotes the marijuana being funneled to the black market and exists to keep the middle class from being able to participate on ANY level in this industry here!

The TRUTH is this law was written to make the already very wealthy even richer much more than it was designed to help the sick and dying! Growing patients and caregivers can and will give medicine to other patients and only need to get reimbursed for their expense of producing it. Ultimately NO Dispensaries will not even slow down patients having access to world class medical grade marijuana, the price will be around half of the retail price the dispensaries would have charged, and Very Importantly the struggling Arizona Middle Class WILL be able to participate in this new industry despite the efforts of those who deliberately tried to exclude them when they carefully crafted 203!

Coz
Coz

Now...that is funny !

Mistalee
Mistalee

In Arizona? Say it ain't so!

Seriously, do Arizona ballot instructions say "put an X next to the name of the biggest asshole," because I can't formulate another theory to explain the phenomenon. 

Jason
Jason

Makes me glad I'm one of the few educated people in this county and state. I didn't vote for either of these circus clowns.....

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Gwenf0981
Gwenf0981

I was pissed when i first heard about the dispenseries not opening, but I did not realize how they would really affect everyone here. I know brewer isnt doing this to help mmj patients, but thats exactly what shes doing!

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