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  Arizona Sues Justice Dept. Over Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on May 27, 2011 at 18:14:44 PT
By Paul Davenport, Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press 

medical Phoenix -- Arizona officials are taking the state's own medical marijuana law to court. Attorney General Tom Horne late Friday sued the U.S. Justice Department and other defendants on behalf of the state and Gov. Jan Brewer.

The suit asks a federal judge to rule on whether strict compliance with the Arizona law provides protection from federal prosecution or whether the Arizona measure is pre-empted by federal law.

The state law approved by voters in November, like those in other states, decriminalizes distribution, possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes under specified circumstances.

However, the U.S. attorney for Arizona has reminded state officials that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Horne said the Arizona suit was intended get a court ruling "that makes it clear what direction we can safely go -- either to implement the law or that we cannot."

The suit also named medical marijuana supporters, a group representing would-be dispensary operators and others as defendants in the case. Horne said they accepted invitations to be included in the case to ensure the state law gets a vigorous defense.

Brewer announced the planned lawsuit Tuesday, saying she's concerned that state employees could face federal prosecution for regulating the state program.

The governor and Horne, both Republicans, opposed the medical marijuana law but said they weren't trying to thwart the will of the voters. They said the lawsuit is specifically prompted by a May 2 letter in which U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke noted that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and that criminal prosecutors of traffickers and others are possible.

Burke's letter did not specifically mention state employees, but he said his office intends to prosecute individuals and organizations engaged in illegal manufacturing, distribution and marketing involving marijuana.

Burke did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday, but he told The Arizona Republic there had been no policy change.

"We have no intention of targeting or going after people who are implementing or who are in compliance with state law," Burke told the newspaper.

"But at the same time, they can't be under the impression that they have immunity, amnesty or safe haven."

Horne said Burke's letter and similar letters sent by U.S. attorneys elsewhere raised the prospect of federal prosecutions related to medical marijuana, and he noted that a letter signed by U.S. attorneys in Washington state said state employees administering a medical marijuana program would not be immune from liability under a federal drug law.

Saying she was worried about federal prosecution of state workers, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed key parts of a legislative measure to clarify her state's medical marijuana law.

Elsewhere, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has suspended plans to license three medical marijuana dispensaries after a U.S. attorney warned the dispensaries could be prosecuted for violating federal law.

In Montana, two medical marijuana providers sued the Justice Department on May 10 to challenge March 14 raids of their businesses. The lawsuit claimed the raids exceeded the federal government's authority, pre-empted Montana's medical marijuana law and violated the providers' civil rights.

A spokesman for a Washington-based medical marijuana advocacy group said the Arizona lawsuit won't accomplish anything because it won't change federal law or enforcement policies and because individual patients can grow their own marijuana.

"Gov. Jan Brewer is trying to hamstring this program," said Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project.

Between April 14 and Tuesday, Arizona approved 3,696 applications for patients to have and use medical marijuana, including 2,694 for growing up to 12 plants each. An additional 69 applications have been approved for caregivers, who can provide marijuana for up five patients other than themselves.

An application period for dispensaries is supposed to begin Wednesday, but Brewer is expected to direct the Department of Health Services to not proceed with that part of the program.

M. Ryan Hurley, a Scottsdale lawyer for would-be dispensary operators, said they're troubled because the state is not proceeding with full implementation of the law.

"They've invested a lot of time and effort and money in this process in reliance of the law," he said.

Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Author: Paul Davenport, Associated Press
Published: May 27, 2011
Copyright: 2011 The Associated Press

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Comment #2 posted by museman on May 29, 2011 at 01:00:50 PT
I am confused..
Who is it that the 'law' is supposed to work for?

There seems to be a conflict of interest between the truth and the law.

The people seem to be able to discern the truth about many things, while the law lives in its own fantasy wonderland of self serving lies and subterfuge. Those who claim to represent the 'law' cannot in turn claim to represent 'the people' for that is an impossible achievement under the current rules, and rulers of the game.

It is another of the many fine carrots on sticks sold for huge profit by the established 'authorities' as another 'american dream'.

The common sense of ordinary values and ethical choice, versus legaleze gobbledeegoop -that is held as elite and special, above the needs, concerns, and deserving recompense of the people, must needs be carefully avoided with all the clever array of doublespeak and obfuscating nonsense language that the speciality schools can invent.

The 'law' is a thug and a bully. A collection of arrogant, presumptive, anal retentive bigots who must prove their 'superiority' through the use of their ability to confuse, intimidate, and cause great discomfort to others.

Has anyone experienced anything significantly different? (certainly not counting those who are invested in it in any way, they will naturally support the lies if it supports their own solvency)

The 'law' is not there to 'serve and protect' the people. but to serve the rich and protect the lawyers.

The federal government, and now the entire country is run by pretenders to truth, who might not even believe the truth exists, but who can turn the gun sights on whomever they choose, imprison those who keep pointing at the truth through their actions and words. Murder those who might have influence.

The government only makes people suffer. Through war, after war, after war, after war -with no (mainstream apparent) end in sight! And through LAW!! and LAW ENFORCEMENT. We are all forced to comply with conditions that should never have existed in a nation supposedly concerned with liberty, and justice.

Did you pay your fees? And were the taxes collected from your paycheck? Did you remember to apply for all your permits -to avoid other possible charges and administrative costs? Have you conformed your identity to federal standards and mandatory guidelines yet? Remember to stand only in the designated areas -failure to do so could result in fines of up to $5,000. You have the right to remain silent.

Even the so-called 'benevolence' of the V.A. is just a run around from its true intention and reason for being. It too is actually a service for the rich -to keep the warriors from taking their world back from the usurpers.

You hear the lawyers and the politicians talking all the time, over and over about 'the people' and 'liberty' and this and that, and all it has ever been is a bunch of words. Hot air. Insubstantial verbosities. Much sound and fury, signifying nothing.

And yet, every election, -even though all we ever get to vote for is lawyers, who gets elected? LAWYERS!!!!

Damn, sometimes I think I come from another planet! There used to be this mythical land called the U.S.A....

LEGALIZE FREEDOM

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Comment #1 posted by runruff on May 28, 2011 at 05:47:47 PT
There is a fed in the soup.
Like a bug in the soup, the fed is ruining every aspect of our national intention to have a free and just country.

This country would be better off without the fed. When your government becomes 100% self serving it has become a detriment not an asset to its people.

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