Arizona Gov. Brewer seeks federal shutdown of state medical marijuana program

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator May 26, 2011

    Funny how when it’s immigration, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer claims states rights and opposes federal interference, but when it’s the state voting for medical marijuana, she invites federal interference.

    (East Valley Tribune) Saying she fears people could wind up in legal trouble, Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday ordered the state attorney general to get a federal court to rule whether Arizona can implement its medical marijuana law.

    [S]he said a letter from Dennis Burke, the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, to her state health chief appeared to be a warning that anyone involved — from patients and dispensary operators to landlords and even state health officials — could wind up being prosecuted by his office.

    To be fair, this ability is not uncommon in politicians.

    Boo!  The scare letter tactic seems to be working.  Rhode Island balked, Washington balked, now Arizona.  Despite the fact that this medical marijuana has been federally illegal the whole time and New Mexico and Colorado have been licensing dispensaries for years with no federal interference

    “I believe in the will of the people,” Brewer said, even though she personally opposed the initiative. “Unfortunately, with this piece of legislation, there are some pretty serious consequences if we don’t get them resolved,” she continued. “And I, as governor, am not willing to put those people at risk.”

    Bull.  You opposed the initiative and you’re using the empty threat from a US Attorney to provide the cover for you to overturn what was only 50.13% of the people’s will.

    Despite that, the state will continue issuing “qualified patient” cards to anyone who produces the required doctor’s certification that they have a medical condition which can be treated with marijuana.

    Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said the state really has no choice: The initiative approved in November says if the state does not accept applications, then anyone who has the doctor’s recommendation is automatically considered to have been issued a card.

    That’s some pretty clever language drafting there.  I have to give props to the folks at MPP who came up with that one.  If you don’t get a card 45 days after turning in your recommendation, that recommendation is your valid card. Either the state controls who is a legal medical marijuana patient or thousands of doctors will.  You’d think if the governor wanted to have some control over this, she wouldn’t try to stop issuing the cards.

    About 4,000 Arizonans already are certified under state law to be able to purchase up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

    That’s a pretty rapid growth curve!  Remember, this initiative wasn’t even officially passed until December and the online-only registration system opened up just six weeks ago.

    [Brewer] wants to know whether state officials who issue dispensary licenses can be prosecuted because they are “facilitating” the distribution of marijuana. And Brewer said she fears that the state Department of Public Safety could lose federal grants by refusing as a matter of policy to arrest those caught with the drug simply because they are complying with state law.

    Now you’re really reaching, Governor.  You can’t name any one of the now 16 medical marijuana states over the past fourteen years that has lost a single federal grant for not locking up patients.

    As for the dispensary licenses?  Remember how much I complained about the “25-mile halo rule”?  This was a part of MPP’s language that said you could only grow your own medical marijuana if you lived more than 25 miles from a dispensary.  Well, if Brewer gets the answer we know she’ll get, which is “hell, yes, the feds could go after state employees”, and she directs the state to issue no dispensary licenses, that means all those current 4,000 patients can grow their own dozen cannabis plants.  That could be over 30,000 patients within a year growing over 400,000 cannabis plants all over Arizona.

    Again, you’d think if the governor wanted to have some control over this, she’d implement the law, issue dispensary licenses, and keep the vast majority of cultivation in licensed, inspected, secure locations.

    104 responses to “Arizona Gov. Brewer seeks federal shutdown of state medical marijuana program”

    1. Tim says:

      DAMN! That woman’s UGLY as HELL!!! She’s just trying to scare people with two of that hideous face, but she really is putting herself further down into that pit of destruction.

    2. EdwardGlen says:

      I say start a nation wide private registry and screw the local level. Put the fees into a general fund to defend those PATIENTS/CAREGIVERS who get arrested for using cannabis for medical reasons.

      I’m disabled live and Michigan and frigging sick and tired of having to worry about my health and getting arrested even though I’m completely legal.

      I’m waiting for the Democrats to start their BS to try buddy up to those of us who know the truth about cannabis so we’ll vote for them in 2012.

      Guess what? They do that they’ll lose my vote!

      After all the promises made by Obama on the campaign trail the first time about how he wants medical marijuana users left alone was frigging lie.

      Cannabis has never killed anyone it financed our country and its time to stop the marijuana prohibition and wasting billions of tax payer dollars every year.

      “Sow your hemp seeds everywhere” GW (George Washington, not George Bush)

    3. SealthWashington2410 says:

      The Federal Government will run out of money if they continue this war. 16 states mmj more to follow! Vegas looking to legalize! Here in Washington the WESTNET needs to be shut down arresting people who have little to no money to fight them in court. Using heavyhanded tactic’s going after the arrestie’s family threating the family’s that needs to stop. It would be nice if NORML Would make some attorney’s pro bono! I will continue to fight the westnet bring them down to their knee’s! Smalltown’s need a Giant spotlight aimed at the police,sherriff’s department’s.
      There is light in this dark but the dark continues to attack

    4. Just An Observer says:

      What’s worse, Democrats keeping the War On Some Drugs going or Republicans showing how two-faced they are when it comes to states’ rights issues?

    5. Ll says:

      I guess AZ is another state I will not be retiring to in a few years.

    6. Charles says:

      Interesting take I got from this article. Could she secretly support legalization? I.E. Saying, “Sorry, I can’t do what you want.”, but by not doing anything allowing the situation to exponentially grow in the state changing the law from a restrictive MMJ law to one of the loosest least regulated in the country.

      I see this working doubly for her by assuring her conservative base she trying to stop it, but by doing nothing helping the opposing side by letting it happen in a natural and way more explosive fashion.

      It was definitely crafted so that inaction by the state wouldn’t invalidate the people’s will. That is one of the best pieces of legislation I’ve seen in a long while. A sort of ultimatum as, “This is the will of the people, implement it or we will.” With that kind of language. Like was said, if she’s so adamant against it, then is it not better to have control where limits can be place effectively?

      If her position is as she says, then she needs to go to her state legislature to amend the law.

    7. Brandon says:

      Let’s not forget the arrest immunity provided by the Federal Controlled Substances Act, Section 885 (Burden of Proof) Statute D. Explicitly states: … no civil or criminal liability shall be imposed [on] any Federal, state, or local officials… . I believe it’s time to get LOUD!

    8. Monte Bates says:

      Where is the outrage? It’s like Libya I ask you what is the difference. Legacy of fear and control. The state continues to take in revenue and proposed X3 taxation. Are you kidding me. Know one protests. The sore loser railroading 840.000 votes. No mention of this. I’m astonished.

    9. The American Genesist says:

      Government is defying its own power – and – the consequence of this denial of Faith and Sacrament – will be that government will bear the results of its own actions on the bosom of its soul – or – the void where a soul once existed – and – we will wear governments boot print on our ass.

      A show of force – and – acts of intimidation – by the DOJ – “Will not scare Genesists back to submission.” They will only assuredly cause an increasingly higher wall of defense – until that wall becomes impenetrable. If the DOJ continues to use force against its citizens [for any reason] – that force will be considered a violation against the Country, The Constitution, its laws, and The American People – but – most especially The American Genesist.. That continued show of force – will be considered an act of war – as it is so named and portrayed by government as [War On Drugs]. Most assuredly – it is a domestic war, and social revolution, with the greater percentage in favor of legalization. We’ve gotten this far since our Sacrament has been denied us. Many of our brethren have fallen to this “War on Drugs.” Many have fallen on both sides. All of them went and gave some – some of then went and gave it all.”

      “The next step is to go a little crazy…right!” This is where you have the honor of choosing – “this way – or – that way.” Which is it? Become active and do just one thing – Demand/Mandate Scientific Conclusion, derived from, and based on scientific research, from every source of science – with the evidence being submitted to a candid public for its examination.