Governor Brewer to Refile Medical-Marijuana Lawsuit, Channel 12 Reporter Brahm Resnik Tweets; UPDATE Reporter Gets Quote Wrong
Brahm Resnik of Channel 12 News (KPNX-TV) just tweeted that Governor Jan Brewer "indicates she will refile lawsuit to block medical marijuana law."
UPDATE: We watched Resnik's report -- looks like he got this one wrong. In his 10 p.m. broadcast, Brewer can be seen at an event talking about the medical marijuana lawsuit -- and she clearly says "if" she's going to refile it. Brewer spokesman Matt Benson confirmed for us that Brewer hasn't yet made a decision. We'll take this as a learning moment.
We called Brewer's communication office, but a woman there who answered the phone couldn't confirm that report. She suggested we call Matt Benson, Brewer's spokesman, which we did. We'll update this post when he gets back to us.
Resnik's a straight shooter so we'll assume for the moment that he heard the Gov say something like that at an event he's covering.
As we reported yesterday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton dismissed Brewer's lawsuit against the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. Brewer and state Attorney General Tom Horne filed the federal complaint in May, following up on a claim by the Act's chief opponents that state workers could be prosecuted for administering a medical-marijuana program.
The state officials wanted the federal court system to decide whether the voter-approved law was valid.
If Brewer does plan to refile the suit, perhaps she'll finally take the position that she's avoided taking since May -- that she believes the medical-pot law is illegal and should be struck down. Of course, taking such a stance would only sink her finger deeper into the eye of voters, who narrowly approved the Act last year.
On the other hand, simply choosing sides in the debate -- something Bolton said would be required for the lawsuit to continue -- won't by itself satisfy Bolton. In her ruling, the judge wrote that Brewer and Horne's request for declaratory judgment was not yet ripe, because no state worker was in imminent danger of being prosecuted.
Bolton's reasoning makes sense. After all, no one at the state Department of Health Services has been prosecuted -- or even threatened -- by the feds, even though the agency has authorized thousands of Arizonans to grow and possess marijuana.
Brewer and Horne, die-hard opponents of medical marijuana that they are, may have other tricks up their sleeve.
They probably figure there's more than one way to skin the voters.