Governor Brewer's Lawsuit Vs. Medical Marijuana Act Criticized by Federal Judge; Says State Must Choose Sides

Categories: Medical Weed







bolton susan cocc shot.JPG
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton hammered Governor Jan Brewer's lawsuit against medical marijuana today in court. Bolton is also the judge in the SB 1070 case.

Governor Jan Brewer's lawsuit against Arizona's medical marijuana law took a beating today in federal court, where a judge told the state's lawyers to pick a side on the issue.

Brewer and her legal enforcer in the case, state Attorney General Tom Horne, campaigned against Prop 203 before voters passed it and later targeted it with a lawsuit. Brewer also ordered the state to reject applications for medical-marijuana dispensaries, a situation that has left about 16,000 state-qualified pot patients with no convenient source of "medicine."

Brewer and Horne, however, don't have the chutzpah to actually argue against the voter-approved law -- something that could be politically dangerous. When they turned to federal court in May for a declaratory judgment on whether the new law was legal, they argued that the "controversy" was a no-brainer because marijuana is illegal under federal law.

Their lawsuit relies on the creation of 20 fictitious defendants -- 10 who believe the new state law violates federal law and 10 who don't believe it -- to bolster their position that a dispute exists.

But Bolton said today that she planned to dismiss all of the fictitious defendants, adding that the tactic cannot "persist" in federal court.

Arizona would need to choose which side it's on before the suit can proceed, Bolton told Lori Davis, an assistant attorney general.

The courtroom's viewing benches, ironically, were crowded with real
opponents. Carolyn Short was there -- she's the marijuana prohibitionist
who suggested to Horne in January that he ought to file for declaratory
judgment. So were medical marijuana entrepreneur Al Sobol, Prop 203's
PR man Joe Yuhas and several supporters of the dispensary industry.

Bolton was highly skeptical of the state's argument. In a nutshell, 
Brewer and Horne argue that state officials who would regulate
dispensaries risk getting busted by the feds. Lawyers for the U.S.
Justice Department, in yet another irony (considering Obama's  crackdown on medical weed in California), take the position that Arizona's law doesn't necessarily threaten state workers. They want Brewer's case tossed out.

Davis, echoing motions the state has filed in the case over the last
few months, noted that U.S. Attorneys in other states have sent letters
that imply state workers are at risk.

"You haven't gotten any such letter from a U.S. Attorney in Arizona, have you?" Bolton asked.

Davis told the judge that former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke
previously said he couldn't grant immunity or give "state harbor" to
state workers. (She left out the part in which he also said he didn't
intend to prosecute state workers.)

"At the minimum," Bolton told 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 hearing, Davis tells New Times that the state will have to decide whether it wants to do what Bolton asks.

Yuhas, spokesman for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, whose
principles put Prop 203 on the ballot, says he's optimistic that today's
hearing "will lead to a decision that will allow us to move forward."

He means moving forward on the opening of dozens of dispensaries in
Arizona, as approved under the law. Now, the "piecemeal" approach to
rolling out the law has led, among other things, to 16,000 patients who
have the legal ability to grow their own -- a situation that Yuhas sees
as potentially out of control.

Arizona's medical-pot law gives state-qualified patients the right to
grow up to 12 plants each unless a dispensary is open within 25 miles.
For now, there are no dispensaries.

 

Yuhas acknowledged that even if Brewer's lawsuit is stopped in its tracks, the dispensary applications still wouldn't be accepted without Brewer's okay.


UPDATE:

Click here to see Bolton's subsequent order, in which she dismisses the fictitious defendants and takes the case under advisement.
My Voice Nation Help
80 comments
Sharon
Sharon

There are those of us who are dealing with significant pain, i,e. multiple schlerosis, progressive paralysis (HPSP) (like myself) cancer patients dealing with chemotherapy, lambego, etc, who have found medinical marajuana helpful in dealing with  pain or inabliltiy to eat.   It is natural....a much better therapy than the toxic pharmaceudicals laden with frightening "side effects."How can medicinal marajuana be viewed as a harmful agent to the body while both legal tobacco and legal alcohol are easily obtained by ANYONE at the age of 21?I am a senior citizen trying to cope with my disablility....this botanical is so important for me to live as useful a life as I can.

Assyla419
Assyla419

If you take any medications, you should research all of the side effects and think about the potential harm that can be done to you. Think about why you take the medication and think about alternative choices. Think about how the pharmaceutical companies make 11 billion dollars per year at the expense of Americans.  Think about using medical marijuana if you are on painkillers, anti-depressants, anxiety medications, or sleeping pills.Marijuana has been around for more than 5000 years and is considered to have an excellent safety record. Between 1979 and 1998, there were 23 reported deaths due to cannabis, and when you look at the 23 people, they were all suffering from life-threatening illnesses (cancer, diabetes, etc) and were using marijuana medically.  It is likely that they did not die from cannabis but from their illnesses.  (Even if they died from cannabis, that is 23 deaths over 19 years, compared to more than 100,000 deaths per year from prescription medications!)

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

Governor Brewer has intimate ties to Corrections Corporation of America. - Her Chief of Staff, Paul Senseman, is a former CCA lobbyist, and his wife is currently a lobbyist for the company.  Brewer’s campaign manager and senior policy advisor, Chuck Coughlin, runs a consulting firm that also lobbies for CCA in Arizona.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?f...

An appeal to all Prohibitionists and Fence-Sitters:

Because Drug cartels will always have an endless supply of ready cash for wages, bribery and equipment, no amount of tax money, police powers, weaponry, wishful thinking or pseudo-science will make our streets safe again. Only an end to prohibition can do that! How much longer are you willing to foolishly risk your own survival by continuing to ignore the obvious, historically confirmed solution?

If you support the Kool-Aid mass suicide cult of prohibition, and erroneously believe that you can win a war without logic and practical solutions, then prepare yourself for even more death, tortured corpses, corruption, terrorism, sickness, imprisonment, economic tribulation, unemployment and the complete loss of the rule of law.

The only thing prohibition successfully does is prohibit regulation & taxation while turning even our schools and prisons into black markets for drugs. Legalized Regulation would mean the opposite!

Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

greaseballwatcher
greaseballwatcher

The only thing this alcoholic bitch could pick would be which side of the bed to sleep on after some geriatric prison lobbyist fucked her. After Joe vacates the legal dock one can only hope it will be her turn.

Mikeneill
Mikeneill

Governor Brewer refuses to hear the will of arizona voters still. She and Tom Horne are trying to stop medical marijuana in arizona and make the Obama administration the scape goat. Governor Brewer is a terrible debator so she won't go on tv anymore. And Tom Horne has hisown problems involving his choice of staff members. And yet they can point their narrow-minded fingers at sick people that can benefit from medical marijuana. I truely wish that medical marijuana had been available for my father when he lay dying from terminal cancer. Shame on Brewer and Horne. VOTE THEM OUT!

me
me

If Brewer gets her way, the result will be better for the patients than if she loses.  The right to cultivation is absolutely essential  Independent, not-at-all-for-profit networks of patients is what will make the system work.  For-profit dispensaries might work for those who can afford it, but the dispensaries will come at the expense of the existing rights of the people who are cultivating right now.  Why should they get rights granted, and when their rights are granted, why should patients LOSE rights that they have as a result?  I don't think there is a precedent for this, and there is a clear Equal Protection problem with the rules as written. 

Joe Blow
Joe Blow

According to Brewer:

--A law passed by one party in the state legislature that directly contradicts federal law = great!  Good for elections and book tours!--A law passed by the people of the state that contradicts federal law = No no no, federal law is supreme!  Damn hippies!

me
me

Here is the lawsuit position that I wish someone would argue:  Person A (let's call her Alice) is a card-holding qualifying patient with the "Authorized to Cultivate" designation on her card.  Alice has five plants in her hydroponic garden, eight weeks away from harvest.  Person B (let's call him Bob) is issued a dispensary license for a business address 24 miles from Alice's home.  Alice's rights are now abridged, and she is legally obliged to destroy her crop.  What recourse does Alice have to preserve her rights, and what gives Bob any civil immunity from litigation by Alice? 

I believe that if dispensaries are ever licensed in the state, now that individuals are already being granted and are exercising the right to cultivate, that the central question in Arizona's medical marijuana law will be an Equal Protection matter.  I believe it will be highly problematic that a right can be conferred to one individual which automatically deprives an entire *class* of that same right. 

Unfortunately, there are so many other controversies and so much misinformation already about the law, that I don't think very many people understand this point. 

concerned hypothetical person
concerned hypothetical person

Scenario:  qualifying patient gets cultivation authorization.  Invests $2000 in a hydroponic setup.  Let's say for the sake of argument, finds a wild cannabis plant inside the state, and cultivates from cuttings from that wildcrafted mother plant (want to ignore the obvious problem of seeds or California clones for the moment).  Now, during this grow cycle, a dispensary is licensed within 25 miles of them.  Is this patient supposed to destroy his carefully cultivated plants, and eliminate his whole individual strain, and what about his investment in equipment?  How does the dispensary agent get a right that deprives the patient of a right he previously had?  And more to the point:  What immunity does the dispensary agent have from a lawsuit from that patient for the damage done to the patient due to the arbitrary location of the dispensary's place of business?  

VoteoutSkanks938
VoteoutSkanks938

Here are two people to begin with, that hold important government positions, please help continue this list. The following have repeatedly broke their oaths to the People. The contracts have been broken for a long time. Therefore they are illegitimate leaders, exercising authority when it was no longer valid. 1. Joe Arpaio2. Jan Brewer

Trommy Themulus
Trommy Themulus

Russel Pearce.  Oh wait he's been removed.  Looks like the others are showing the public they are just like that and should be given the same send off by the people.

Mix2def
Mix2def

Just my two cents, but the folks that say "growing is easy, everyone will do it" may be over-simplifying just a bit. I can tell you from experience it is a skill and a trade must be worked on and crafted. The market price is the market price, its simple supply/demand...the legal market will look similar for a long while after prohibition. This isn't about price right now, it's about safe access and high quality access. Plasma tv's used to be $10,000 but now they are $700, its still a premium product

me
me

Growing is not easy, but it's a good way to learn some intricacies of horticulture, and it gets easier as you progress.  But if you have a right today, and then someone else gets the right and by them getting the right, YOU are suddenly deprived of the same right because of them, that's not justice.  I and many other patients are very much hoping that Governor Brewer wins the pyrrhic victory she seems to be seeking.  The status quo is an excellent compromise.  Patients may give (GIVE!) medical marijuana to other patients, but it may NOT (NOT!) be sold or even exchanged for anything of value.  This is unfortunate for those who have no resources to grow their own medicine, but if the current status quo were clarified, the not-for-profit caregiver network (which exists today, but is very low-key for obvious legal reasons) can thrive.  If we get for-profit dispensaries, the individual grower is shut out (of a right he ALREADY HAS and IS EXERCISING TODAY!), and then there's a commercial market for marijuana, which is not something that anyone needs, and certainly not anything that either doctors or patients really want. 

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I can only hope the judge gave written instructions to Mrs. Brewer and Mr. Horne. Written very slowly so they can both keep up.

Mrs. Brewer doesn't seem to understand one cannot effectively ride both sides of the fence without getting one's sensitives caught and tangled.

The woman is NOT a mental giant.

Coz
Coz

Oh, she's mental alright Tommy, but it has nothing to do with intelligence.

Bnbk
Bnbk

If Big Pharma sees this as profitable & wants it,it will happen.If not, don't hold your breath as we all know they run anything having to do with "medicines". Once they can figure out how to deal with the potecy levels such as they have with opiate painkillers & turn a huge profit,only then will the corporate masters of our "leaders"( yea right) give the ok.         http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12...

Bnbk
Bnbk

The link I posted seens to be broken------ Google-----  Gregoire & Chafee federal marijuana reclassification........... the link should come up..

guest
guest

When does this insanity Stop? Brewer, you really need to quit with your hell bent anti-cannabis crusade. Stop wasting tax payer money with this arduous BS where you continue to defy what the Voters have passed, move on to imperative State issues. (like sex crimes mishandled?)   

It is a sad day that in any state in AMERICA when the so called leaders defy the choose made BY the PEOPLE. Talk about a slap in the face.  Those who do not learn from the past are destined to repeat it. And here we go again. Please let me off this never ending merry go round of idiocy! Will they ever learn????

concerned
concerned

The current status quo is actually quite tolerable.  Qualifying patients are able to grow their medicinal crops.  Caregivers can do so for them, with impunity.  Individual qualifying patients can give marijuana to other individual qualifying patients, so long as there is no commercial transaction or quid pro quo relationship.  If dispensaries are introduced, it will totally destroy this very workable and successful status quo.  I would like to believe that Governor Brewer is a genius and has been clever enough to create the current status quo with the intent of giving the state the best situation for medical marijuana patients of the 16 states that have a program.  She has, either through ingenuity or simple dumb luck through arrogance, given us the best scenario possible.  Patients can grow their own cannabis (which has untold benefits over commercial volume grows!), and there is no "pot business" like you see in LA.  If the dispensaries open up, it will be devastating to patients.

DPSnAZ
DPSnAZ

They not only will never learn, they don't want to. This is about staying in charge and reaping great benefits. The US is actually an Oligarchy dressed in the colorful clothes of Democracy.

teknik1200
teknik1200

especially when these very same leaders run on a "states rights" platform.

either they or for state's rights or they are against them. 

Coz
Coz

Your vote only means something to them when it's for them or for something they want.They could care less otherwise.Just another FU to the voters by politicians.

Coz
Coz

Brewer, Horne and the rest of these mental midgets need to get over it, the voters approved it, that should be enough.

Joyfully1
Joyfully1

I would love to sit down and have a chat with Ms. Carolyn Short. Let her see all the pills I take on a daily basis. I paid over $9,000 last year in drug co-pays. And to top everything else, I have had 1/3 of my stomach removed because all those pain killing drugs ate holes in my stomach lining. 100,000 people die each year from prescription drugs, not one person has died from using cannabis. And if you do a little more research you would see that the rate of car accidents have dropped in the states who have medical marijuana.The problem is with alcohol and the people who abuse it. Don't put us patients in the same category when all we want is a better quality of life.

DPSnAZ
DPSnAZ

You hit the sore spot. Prescription drugs. 9000 $ co-pay. One of the main reasons for not legalizing drugs like marijuana is the pharmaceutical industry and their dealer networks.

Roachclip
Roachclip

Good luck with that. Carolyn and her cronies at Keep Arizona (Some) Drug Free are up to their necks in the system. Lawyers, lobbysists, drug treatment centers, private prisons, alcohol companies... It's weird that the one person missing from her list of "supporters" is her husband Dean Short (lawyers for sports teams here in Arizona). Weirder than that, all of his buddies at the law firm ARE on her list... Wanna bet he runs for Attorney General or something? And I'm sure her little band of drug-nazis are working on a repeal initiative as I write this. Good luck with that one kiddo, we have you covered on that one. On the bright side, Carolyn's interference allows me to grow my own marijuana. Best gift I ever got from a prohibitionist...thanks Carolyn, you rock!

teknik1200
teknik1200

along with fatal car accidents, teenage use has also declined in states which have a medicinal cannabis statue.

veronica
veronica

Tell Mrs Brewer that she hurting people that are in terrible pain that cant afford medical drugs or who are tired of taking pills that is damaging their stomachs,livers etc. Voters voted it in. ISNT THAT OUR RIGHT AS CITIZENS OF THE US? Let it be and help people!!!

kimroc1
kimroc1

Perhaps a law degree or some kind of collegiate education would help Jan Brewer to higher state of awareness? Certification of completion in plumbing, Air conditioning and Refrigeration, Needle Point, Glass making? Anything? Equestrianism?

Carol
Carol

Radiology? 

Lhagerty268
Lhagerty268

and...lol politicians...don't worry about people needing medicine...worry about how you can steal and receive contributions...off the tax payer dollar.

Lhagerty268
Lhagerty268

for over 200 years...we paid our taxes with it...as everyone that came to the colonies was"forced" to grow it.....by law! right now, politicians are posturing for the alcohol industry...to pay them lobby money to keep it illegal. harvard medical school did a study... top 200 emergency rooms throughout the country...last 20 years....send information of all the patients brought to their emergency room....last 20 years....for toxic reaction to grass/mary jane/weed? all the patients brought in....nyc,chicvago,miami,detroit,boston,los angeles, last 20 years,largest emergency rooms,highest volume............zero patients toxic.....zero...but how about alcohol[we will start with the car accidents caused by alcohol]....lol...bit lobby away...the politicians are licking their chops! don't worry about the people who need it to survive....posture for..mmmmmmmmm money!

Ushemp
Ushemp

The bottom line is none of these groups want the price of pot to drop to a level where people will stop robbing, smuggling, killing and paying the pot cops and reefer revenuers and legal blood suckers protection money. The only regulation marijuana needs is Parental Control.  Demand the Unconditional End of the Pot Prohibition in 2012 and stop this idiocy.  U.S. Hemp

KnownAsAlso
KnownAsAlso

i think this is the best comment i've seen.

KnownAsAlso
KnownAsAlso

bottom line- opening dispensaries is not synonymous with legalizing marijuana. it only forces patients to have to go thru middlemen. it's already legalized in the state of AZ. this will only concentrate the power to grow into the hands of a few people who have the money to go thru the hoopla of setting up a dispensary. and considering a thrifty grower can produce their own marijuana in perpetuity for a small investment of about $500, it makes far more sense for the average user (legal or not) to advocate for this route rather than that of having to go thru some guy who has the (on average) $150,000 it takes to set up and operate a dispensary and who is probably looking to profit off being one of the few people who can provide such a commodity.

Jason
Jason

Growing your own pot would be essentially starting your own business. People who grow their own weed would making profits up the wazoo without sharing the profits with the state.  

GED Jan and the Gang simply don't want voter-approved laws to go into effect because it would damage her politically.

This isn't the time for politics Jan. Let us have our voter-approved laws!! 

real individual
real individual

It does not follow that an individual grower will sell what he grows.  Why do you jump to the conclusion that a patient grower has a profit motivation?  The setup costs are pretty significant, if you want assurances of a medical-grade result.   Do you even know of a qualifying patient with a cultivation permit in Arizona who has even considered selling marijuana, or are you just making up a hypothetical argument in order to dismiss very real individuals?

KnownAsAlso
KnownAsAlso

"Growing your own pot would be essentially starting your own business.People who grow their own weed would making profits up the wazoowithout sharing the profits with the state." 

so what? i highly doubt potential tax revenue in a red state like AZ, is going to be used for social welfare programs. it'll go towards more needless construction, border and law enforcement, etc, etc. if the bailout is any indication of how the govt (state or fed) will spend our money, i doubt anyone who isn't rich will get a red cent.

and most importantly, not everyone who would cultivate would be looking to profit. i'm sure out of these 16,000 people, many would love to get their medication without having to pay exorbitant street prices that dispensaries would no doubt keep in tact. especially given that sick people with a debilitating condition are already faced with mounting medical bills.

i'm just saying i don't hear anyone advocating dispensaries also talking about this fine print part of the law. if the choice is between being able to grow on your own or go to a compassion club (which is only slightly more illicit than a dispensary would be) vs. having to only go to dispensaries, then that to me is no choice at all. it's infinitely more progressive to not relinquish the patient's right to grow simply so a few rich dispensary operators can make a profit.

concerned
concerned

It's a strawman argument supported by no evidence that any qualifying patient in Arizona with a cultivation permit is selling or has ever sold marijuana to anyone for any price.  You are putting a claim forward that you simply cannot substantiate.

i hope this is anonymous
i hope this is anonymous

It's a bigger problem that a person who currently has a right (and has made a huge investment) will suddenly lose that right because the right is granted to someone else who happens to be an arbitrary distance from them.  It's also a problem that some people in the state will be eligible to exercise a right that other people will not.  The mutual exclusivity parts of the rules would not pass equal protection muster.   I would like to know from the AZ DHS, where in the state will be greater than 25 miles from any dispensary, because I would be willing to relocate in order to preserve the right to cultivate, which I currently have and exercise.  I do not want to break the law.  I want to keep my cultivation license. 

Carol
Carol

keep in mind that after co2, nutrients, equipment, energy, rent, etc..., etc... , you can STILL sell high grade marijuana for $200 an ounce and STILL be making a sizable amount of money. 

Slashing the prices of Marijuana in Arizona by up to 50% would still allow anyone cultivating the Marijuana to make a living doing so. 

Eventually the Dispensaries start to have 100+ pounds rotting away in storage, and they begin to move it out the back door at which point they truly to become extremely rich. 

the Fed loves Dispensaries because it allows them to involve the IRS, the DOR, and the DEA, since they can ask a Dispensary to willingly keep records of every transaction made in Marijuana.

They don't want you having 10,000 dollars worth of cash in your walls, that is why they are using world financial powers to undermine paper money and force us all into electronic money. That way they don't even have to worry about Growers getting rich outside of the banking system, because money won't exist outside of the banking system.

teknik1200
teknik1200

let us grow our own, it's good for some of us, but unfortunately it's hard to get medicine to some of the people who need it, but are too sick to grow their own.

this is what the clubs have been helping with.  we need a way to get medicine to the people who need it.

concerned person
concerned person

Some of us already are growing our own medical marijuana.  We have a pretty tangible fear that a dispensary may open within the 25 mile radius of our home, and deprive us of the right.  I don't want that to happen at all.  But what if it happens in the middle of bloom?  How can one person getting a right granted, deprive another person of the same right?  This will not pass equal protection muster.

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

Sounds like you had better read the text of the law and the regulations. Cards issued with cultivation rights are valid for a year, regardless of if and when the dispensaries open. So look at the expiration date on your card and there is the potential end of your window for cultivation. Alternatively, if the court case(s) go badly, it might end upon such a ruling. Go safely.

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Home

Loading...