Medical-Marijuana Dispensaries Win County Battle, but Montgomery's War on Law Goes On

Categories: Medical Weed

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Image: Ray Stern
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery: "I'm really supposed to be listening to the voters?"
The fight for a medical-marijuana dispensary on unincorporated Maricopa County land won a key victory on Wednesday with the Board of Supervisors lifting its ban on the shops.

But the five Supervisors -- one Democrat and four Republicans -- and the county attorney continue to see the case as their ticket to overturning the state's voter-approved medical-pot law.

See also:
-Montgomery's Bad Advice on Medical Marijuana Results in Less County Control

Back in 2011, the Supervisors voted unanimously to take the advice of County Attorney Bill Montgomery and opt out of the law. The move came days after former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke issued a warning letter to state officials about the law's theoretical conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The planned Sun City dispensary, White Mountain Health Center, sued the county to make it comply with state law. In a sense, White Mountain's a pawn in a political game by Montgomery and state Attorney General Tom Horne, who want marijuana users -- medical or otherwise -- to continue to be hunted and jailed by law enforcement authorities under Arizona's felony marijuana-prohibition laws, which are some of the harshest in the country.

The state's lottery system for dispensaries forced businesses to locate only in certain areas, meaning White Mountain -- which had won the lottery for the Sun City area -- had to either sue or lose its initial investment of time and money. Yet by doing so, White Mountain fell into the trap of Horne and Montgomery, who were looking for a case they could use to fight the law in court.

So far, the trial-court decisions have not been favorable for the Supervisors and lawmen. Although it seem that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act conflicts with federal law (we've been guilty of making that assumption), the law is not so easily interpreted.

Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon ruled in December of 2012 that the AMMA does not conflict with federal statutes. It's more a matter of how the state's voters wish to enforce or not enforce anti-marijuana laws, or to set up a program for marijuana to be used medicinally. Gordon noted that the feds are still free to enforce federal law, if they want. The ruling removed the blockade on dispensaries created by Horne and Governor Jan Brewer. Dozens of the shops are now open across Arizona.

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Jeffrey Kaufman, a Valley attorney, and the American Civil Liberties Union are providing White Mountain Health Center's legal defense.
Then, in November, Gordon ruled that the county was acting unreasonably with its blanket prohibition on medical-pot shops, and ordered officials to stop thwarting state law. Based on that ruling, the Supervisors voted 4-0 on Wednesday to lift its ban and allow dispensaries in areas zoned for commercial businesses.

Jeffrey Kaufman, White Mountain's attorney, says the nonprofit dispensary's principals plan to open to the public in March at 9421 West Bell Road.

"We hope now to have peace with the county so that we don't have to challenge the new statute," Kaufman tells New Times.

Mary Rose Wilcox, the board's lone Democrat, called in sick to Wednesday's meeting. But Wilcox and her fellow Supervisors continue to authorize Montgomery's appeal of the decisions in the White Mountain case. Although Democrats have typically supported the issue of medical-marijuana and states' ability to pass decriminalization laws, Wilcox has stood with those who believe the voters should not have passed the law.

The county has a pending motion before the state Court of Appeals to stay Gordon's November order. If the court grants that motion, White Mountain's March opening will be off. Kaufman expects the appellate court to decide on the motion within days. But even a positive ruling there for White Mountain will hardly end the matter.

in a news conference on Wednesday, Montgomery said it should come as no surprise to anyone that he disagrees with Gordon's rulings. His office will ask the state appellate court, and the state Supreme Court, if need be, to reverse them. But unless Gordon's decisions are overturned, he admits, "we're sort of in the Twilight Zone."

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35 comments
Joe_Citizen
Joe_Citizen

1st, all anti-marijuana laws are unconstitutional as the original US constitution is made of marijuana paper and marijuana ink by marijuana growers who used marijuana for industrial, medicinal and recreational purposes.


2nd, no one is obligated to obey and unconstitutional law (see Marbury vs.Madison).


3rd, the USA is suppose to be a republic (the people rule), not a democracy {the mob (aka organized crime) rules}.


4th, the Constitution of the State of Arizona limits the government of the State of Arizona to three Department (legislative, executive and judicial), none to perform the duties of the other(s).


5th, the Constitution of the State of Arizona was enacted to limit the rights and powers of the representatives of the people, not the people.


6th, Section 10 of Article I of the US Constitution prohibits States of the USA, including the Sate of Arizona, from making anything but gold or silver coins a tender in payment of debt (see Federal Reserve Notes - FRNs), and from issuing bills of credit (see paychecks based on FRNs).


7th, all FRNs (evidence of debt; the no value stock certificates of the private for profit corporation known as the Fed) combined equal 0.


8th, State run MMJ dispensaries have set sales prices and charge sales tax and are actually for profit corporations fraudulently dba non-profit corporations.


9th, members of one organization, the American Bar Association, control all juries, corporations, agencies, departments and branches of every employee of every local, State and federal government(s).


10th, if the basis of the science of jurisprudence (all are presumed to know the law, negating the perfect defense of ignorance) aka "the law" is truth, why does the profession of attorneys exist at all ?

dtmac
dtmac

Is there anyone in Arizona in more desperate need of a blowjob than Bill Montgomery?

FRONTERA
FRONTERA

Power Elite  understand 0ne thing ,thats money and power. Wallstreet now wants in on the GREEN BOOM (SOUR OG KUSH ) ECT...watch how fast they change the laws to try and control the Industry-welcome to the boom town...

larry357
larry357

Recall his sorry ass and replace him with a real American.

Larry Talley
USN, Retired

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Reply to Brennan and Cheryl,

The Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery ran unopposed. 

The Dems failed to nominate a candidate to the most powerful position in the state -- the Maricopa County Attorney.

A position where there is NO oversight, NO transparency, and NO accountability. Where prosecutors have absolute immunity and answer to no one. Who wouldn't want that kind of job?

Time for TERM LIMITS for County Attorneys, County Sheriffs and County Assessors -- who have abused their power with the endless arrogance we have seen for decades! 

Tom Higgins
Tom Higgins

The people have spoken, the courts have spoken! His personal agenda has and will continue to cost the taxpayers money that we don't have. Montgomery and Horne were voted in by the people yet they refuse to recognize the rights of the majority in favor of their own egos. Vote them out!

Doug Owens
Doug Owens

Shouldn't be a battle, its common sense but decisions being made by people who havent used or admitted that they have or by religion like every fricken other thing...need to get rid of all the idiots in office who live daily with something up there asses. I'm smoking either way so makes no difference to me :) 100% supporter.

Taft Prentice
Taft Prentice

He was a nice guy, now I hope he suffers in his time of need and finds no relief in his quest to insure others suffer.

dalesteraz
dalesteraz

What is it with these clowns....This guy is just as bad as Candy Thomas was!  Arrogant douche bag....Love to see him disbarred just like andy.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

13-5 The Smarter Sentencing Act -- passed today in the Senate Judiciary!

Time to stop injustice and inefficiency and failed policies.

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

No surprise here Montepoodle would tell the voters to FO. 

Since when has a Republican's leadership in this State given a shit about what the voters think or vote for in Arizona.

Besides, got to keep those private prison's for profit full you know....

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

I think MontyPoodle just needs to get laid for the first time in years.  It might help him from beings a screwy wingnut with his Joe Arpaio panties in a wad!

davewk2002
davewk2002

"'I'm really supposed to be listening to the voters?' Montgomery responded."  This is the mantra of the Arizona Republicans.  Too bad the news stations did not pick up on this... Sounds like news to me and it should be used in campaign ads.   Montgomery is another Whackadootle like Ted Cruz who obstructs and expects to be elected the next time.  Tell me, is he getting advice from 'Hit and Run' Horne(y)'?  These guys are good at wasting tax money that could be better used in our failing schools, to fix our roads and bridges, or to empower the people in Arizona rather than to imprison them.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Now Monty, THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN. For some really weird reason you have a one-track mind on this issue. So quit wasting the Court's time with your questionable motions. There's no doubt in my mind that Judge Gordon has endured enough of your crap. And stop persecuting legal pot users.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

"[County Attorney's] War on Law ..."


I like that.  Nice headlinesmanship.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@ConcernedCitizenAZ  "The Dems failed to nominate a candidate to the most powerful position in the state -- the Maricopa County Attorney."


Cries the Teabagger who votes Repuglikkkan.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

@dalesteraz   

Work harder at getting a qualified candidate to run against Montgomery, rather than the years it took to disbar the prosecutor "troika" -- of disgraced Andrew Thomas / Lisa Aubuchon and sanction Rachel Alexander.

The MCAO has needed a major house-cleaning, that Montgomery has failed to address as he moves on to "child saving" -- CPS - the "new" industry for $$$'s.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

@dalesteraz  

...And he has the same chief deputy as Andrew Thomas. What does that tell you? 

Driving the same old precedents. At the time he was listed as a 'lobbyist" as well. What does the MCAO need with a "lobbyist"? 

Lobbying against the people who demand meaningful reform of Arizona's broken criminal justice system? 

Lobbying against reforming Arizona's draconian mandatory minimum sentencing statues, that sentence a non-violent, first offender to 75 years in prison for non-sexual "touching" in a public pool? A defacto life sentence. 

Wake up folks. Nothing has changed. Time for TERM LIMITS for County Atttorneys, County Sheriffs and County Assessors!

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

CPS almost 7,000 un-investigated child abuse / sex abuse cases headed for the school-to-prison pipeline?  CCA, lobbyists and cronies?

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

@WhoKnows  Older men get their orgasm off of power, grand-standing at the podium and being in the media.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@ConcernedCitizenAZ "Self destructing America -- a war on our people. A slow Holocaust. "


In a Democracy, the citizens get the Government and Laws they DESERVE! -- i.e. elect and tolerate



ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

@FRONTERA @ConcernedCitizenAZ  


It should be a public duty for ALL to watch this award-winning documentary, that puts it all together. Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, etc. the private prison corporations who propelled the United States to #1 jailer in the world. What a shameful statistic in the "land of the free"? No more. 


Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery understands the gravy train that provides "the system" with $$$,$$$,$$$'s would dry up along with his path to greater "power and control" which is what it's all about. 


How many innocent lives and families have been destroyed on the war on our people?


How many productive people and taxpayers have been taken out of our economy so the profiteers in all this can have their power and money grab?   


Self destructing America -- a war on our people. A slow Holocaust. 

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