Arizona Officials Say Medical Pot Questions Remain
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Arizona Officials Say Medical Pot Questions Remain
Posted by CN Staff on July 05, 2011 at 13:46:05 PT
By Paul Davenport, Associated Press 
Source: Arizona Capitol Times
Phoenix -- Arizona officials said a new federal memo they reviewed Friday on possible medical marijuana-related criminal prosecutions leaves unanswered questions as to whether state-licensed dispensaries and state employees who administer a fledgling medical marijuana program are at risk of prosecution.Like a similar memo issued by the Justice Department in 2009, the new document said users of marijuana for medical purposes and individuals who provide care to other individuals shouldn’t be prosecution priorities. However, significant drug trafficking “remains a core priority” and commercial dispensaries and growers “and those who knowingly facilitate such activities” would still be violating federal drug laws regardless of state law, it said.
Expressing disappointment and frustration, Attorney General Tom Horne said Friday that memo states there’s no shield from prosecution for those who “knowingly facilitate” marijuana commercial cultivation and distribution even if purportedly complying with state laws on medical marijuana.“The federal government knew there was broad concern about whether ‘facilitate’ sale was a term that could endanger state employees,” Horne said.That means Arizona will continue to press the lawsuit it filed May 27 against the federal government and other parties.The state’s suit asked a judge to rule on whether Arizona can implement its medical marijuana law despite the apparent conflict with federal law.While Gov. Jan Brewer and Horne expressed concern that state employees could face legal jeopardy, a League of Arizona Cities and Towns official said Friday he doesn’t see any impact on cities or their workers.“Cities are not engaged in any level of commerce regarding marijuana,” said Ken Strobeck, the league’s executive director. “They are simply complying with state law regarding local zoning regulations should someone set up a dispensary in their city or town” under the state’s medical marijuana law and state regulations to implement it.Ryan Hurley, an attorney for would-be dispensary operators, said the department’s stance is consistent both with the 2009 department memo and recent letters from U.S. attorneys.Hurley said prospective dispensary operators remain at risk of federal prosecution. However, patients and individual caregivers apparently still won’t be prosecution targets, he said.On June 14, prospective dispensary operators filed two lawsuits challenging the state’s decision to not accept dispensary applications. One of those cases has been dismissed by an appellate court, but it can be refiled with a trial court.Source: Arizona Capitol Times (AZ)Author:  Paul Davenport, Associated Press Published: July 5, 2011Copyright: 2011 Arizona Capitol TimesContact: editor azcapitoltimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on July 05, 2011 at 15:25:52 PT
News Article From
Christie Waiting for Medical Marijuana Advice from N.J. Attorney General July 5, 2011A letter from the U.S. Justice Department says New Jersey’s medical marijuana program is not likely to violate any federal laws if it is kept small, but it offers no guarantees. And that is what Governor Chris Christie wants.The Justice Department released a memo last week saying that dispensaries and licensed marijuana growers in states with medical marijuana laws may face prosecution for violating federal drug laws.Christie has been looking for assurances that state employees would not be prosecuted before implementing the program. Spokesman Michael Drewniak, says the governor sent a letter to State Attorney General Paula Dow seeking advice and is still awaiting a response.According to, the Obama administration said in a 2009 memo that going after medical marijuana users and dispensaries would not be a priority for federal law enforcement.According to, Deputy U.S. Attorney James Cole’s letter said within the past 12 months, several jurisdictions have considered legislation to authorize multiple privately operated industrial marijuana-growing centers, some projecting millions of dollars in revenue."Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling, or distributing marijuana, and facilitators of such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act," wrote Cole. New Jersey, along with 15 other states and the District of Columbia, has legalized medical marijuana use.Roseanne Scotti of Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey said she believes the letter suggests New Jersey workers and the program itself are safe. "This is laying out explicitly who is at risk,’’ Scotti said. "If you are planning on growing tens of thousands of plants and making millions of dollars, you are going to be watched by federal law enforcement. That is not planned for New Jersey.”The Justice Department has begun toughening up its position as more states open medical marijuana facilities. Since February, 10 U.S. Attorney's Offices said they have the authority to prosecute dispensaries and licensed growers in those states with medical marijuana laws.Advocates say Christie, a former U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, knows federal authorities would never give blanket assurance that they won't prosecute a hypothetical case later.According to an Associated Press report on, bill co-sponsor Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, said, "He knows they are not going to pick on the strictest law in the country."And sponsor Sen. Nicholas Scutari said that if he doesn't hear from the governor soon, he'll send him an official request to take a position. Scutari said, "Christie sent this letter looking for guidance so he wouldn't have to do anything."Copyright: 2011 newjerseynewsroom.comURL:
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on July 05, 2011 at 14:49:18 PT
or rather....
...hiding behind the "memo".
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on July 05, 2011 at 14:46:25 PT
Brewer, Horne et al
If they really want to move this, why aren't they booking a flight to DC or Texas to talk to Rep. Lamar Smith-R about House Bill 2306, which would solve all of this.
Heck, they're even the same political party.Same for Christie and any other State officials facing the "memo".
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on July 05, 2011 at 14:10:41 PT
aw, the ole.......
Good Cop, Bad Cop ploy.Gee, I'd really like to help you out but, my hands are tied. Look, let's be reasonable. Nobody wants sick people to have access more than me but, blah, blah, blah.In the end it's just govt. lies, obfuscation and collusion to obstruct the will of the people.
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