Prosecutors Challenge Ariz. Medical Marijuana Law
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Prosecutors Challenge Ariz. Medical Marijuana Law
Posted by CN Staff on August 25, 2012 at 19:25:50 PT
By Paul Davenport,  Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press
Phoenix -- State and county prosecutors on Thursday renewed their legal fight against Arizona's medical marijuana program, asking a court to rule that the voter-approved law is illegal on grounds that it conflicts with federal drug law. Attorney General Tom Horne and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery made separate but coordinated requests in a case involving a company's application to operate a medical marijuana dispensary.
The Republican prosecutors' requests specifically target dispensary provisions of the state law approved by Arizona voters in 2010, but a court ruling that the entire law is pre-empted by federal law would have broader impact. The Arizona law permits people certified by doctors as having certain medical conditions to use marijuana. They also can be permitted to grow it unless a dispensary opens in their area. The state is considering applications for dispensaries. "Possession, distribution and cultivation of marijuana are all forbidden by federal law, and state authorization of these activities is pre-empted," Horne said. The case pending in Maricopa County Superior Court involves a company applying to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in Sun City. White Mountain Health Center Inc. sued when county officials wouldn't provide zoning clearances needed under the medical marijuana law. The officials had been advised by Montgomery that county employees could face prosecution for aiding and abetting drug crimes. Judge Michael Gordon recently ruled that state health officials could not decline to award a dispensary license to White Mountain because of the county's inaction. In their new filings, Horne and Montgomery asked Gordon to dismiss White Mountain's lawsuit on grounds that Arizona's law is illegal. Horne's filing noted that he recently issued a legal opinion concluding that the state law decriminalizes possession of medical marijuana under state law. But that doesn't change that possession remains a federal crime, as are growing, selling and dispensing marijuana, Horne said. Horne cited court rulings elsewhere that federal drug law trumps states' medical marijuana laws, but two attorneys for dispensary applicants said other rulings have reached opposite conclusions. Jeff Kaufman, representing White Mountain, said the prosecutors' filings target his client's application but really cast a wider aim. "I'm sure what they're trying to do is have the entire law pre-empted," he said. Ryan Hurley, a lawyer for other dispensary applicants, said Gordon could agree to consider the pre-emption issue or instead, decide the White Mountain case on narrower grounds related to the zoning issue. Horne and Republican Gov. Jan Brewer previously asked a federal judge to rule on whether Arizona's law is pre-empted, but the judge refused, ruling in January the state officials hadn't established a genuine threat of prosecution of state employees for administering the law. Also in January, a state judge ordered the state to proceed with allowing creation of dispensaries and lifted some of the state's restrictions. The state has issued use and growing permits to thousands of individuals, but Brewer had balked at implementing the dispensary part of the law.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Paul Davenport,  Associated Press Published:  August 23, 2012 Copyright: 2012 The Associated PressCannabisNews  Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on August 27, 2012 at 13:41:23 PT
Some of those people... maybe all... don't get into office to be about wanting to represent the people or to "serve" the people as their "representative" in government. They're there, all too often, to serve themselves or whoever it profits them to serve. Seeking political office, I think, is often, if not always, about seeking, what they perceive to be, valuable contacts, influence, privilege, security, and wealth.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on August 27, 2012 at 13:25:46 PT
Political suicide?
Indeed. But I think they are pandering to the businesses and industries that they can, the money and money people. It could mean future income and influence when they are out of office. Just in case. It's shrewdness. 
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Comment #5 posted by schmeff on August 26, 2012 at 21:30:50 PT
In AZ, The Inmates Rule The Asylum
To recap: Two state officials, Tom Horne and Bill Montgomery, are very publicly working to overturn the will of the people they represent. One would think this would be political suicide.In Arizona, the kooks run the show. Just a short list: Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer, John McCain, Jared Loughner, John Kyle...Arizona's got more nuts than peanut brittle.With our country so f****d up, is there any reason I shouldn't be? (deep inhale)
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Comment #4 posted by Lucas on August 26, 2012 at 10:40:06 PT
ignoring state law and calling in the Feds
> Starting over and over and over and over....correct!
there have been numerous Federal cases that have declined to nullify state laws, including the San Diego case against the California law. San Diego LOST, but they keep trying.There have been numerous cases in Cali that indicate plant number limits are illegal, but county after county continues to issue rules with plant number limits.Basically, if the prohibitionists lose in court, they cover their ears, and make more noise.Since 1996, when we passed a law to allow medical cannabis in California, the opposition has done everything they can to lie, cheat, distort, and undermine the law. The most popular current tactic, is if a County does not like the state cannabis laws, they call in the Feds to "help" them.Im sure there is a rule somewhere, that says if you are being paid by a state entity, you cant go around trying to undermine the state laws, but they keep doing it anyway.
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Comment #3 posted by TroutMask on August 26, 2012 at 06:16:19 PT
Starting over and over and over and over....
It's like every state legislature lives on an island.The idea that medical marijuana can't be legal in a state because it is illegal in the country has been tried in nearly(?) every state where medical marijuana is legal. It has NEVER worked to reverse medical marijuana laws, not once. I know Arizona is 'different' and should probably be located further south and east, but these folks can't be completely blind and indifferent to what has happened in every other state that has tried reversing legal medical marijuana using the 'fed law trumps state law' idea.
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Comment #2 posted by konagold on August 26, 2012 at 01:41:34 PT
Fed's allow med pot in DC
since Congress allows med-pot in the federal territory Washington DC the canard that med-pot laws conflict with federal law is a LIEwhat is sauce for the goose [DC] is gravy for the Gander [States]
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Comment #1 posted by Paul Pot on August 25, 2012 at 21:17:10 PT:
Voters are the law
In a democracy voter driven law pre-empts laws created by legislators. 
When Colorado, Oregon or Washington legalizes this November, federal law and international law will be nullified and made totally redundant and prohibition will collapse completely right around the world.
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