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Arizona Attorney General Conspired With Anti Marijuana Leader On Lawsuit


arizona marijuanaBy Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town

Elected state officials busily working to defeat the will of their state’s own voters — it’s an unseemly spectacle, and it’s unfolding as we speak in Arizona. Making the entire scene even more ugly is the fact that seriously ill patients are needless suffering as a result.

Within weeks of Arizona voters approving medical marijuana in their state, the top law enforcement official in the state was devising ways to stymie the will of the people. Whack-job Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne discussed a plan to launch legal action agains the state’s medical marijuana law during a January meeting with the law’s biggest opponent, it has been revealed.

Carolyn Short, who led last year’s unsuccessful campaign to stop Proposition 203, which legalized medical marijuana in Arizona, refers to the meeting in a February 16 letter [PDF] to state Department of Health Services Director Will Humble, reports Ray Stern at Phoenix New Times:

On January 10, 2011, [former Arizona U.S. Attorney]Paul Charlton and I met with Attorney General Horne to discuss our conclusion that implementation of Prop 203 would subject you and other ADHS employees to federal prosecution for violating the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”).

AG Horne suggested that he could file a declaratory judgment action, asking a court to determine whether the implementation of Arizona’s law would subject you and other ADHS employees to the risk of federal prosecution under the CSA.

Jan Brewer marijuana leavesHorne and Governor Jan Brewer put that idea into action last month, filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court. The suit asks the court to make a “declaratory judgment” on the legality of Arizona’s new law.

State officials claimed at the time that a letter to Humble by U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke prompted them to file the lawsuit. Though both Horne and Brewer openly opposed Prop 203 before voters approved it, Horne claimed to reporters last month that he and the Governor were taking a “neutral” (yeah, right) stance on the new law.

“Short’s letter lays rest to the notion of neutrality,” Stern reports in the New Times. “And it makes Burke’s May 2 letter, which merely reiterated that marijuana was against federal law, (okay, there was some new stuff about the potential risk to property owners, landlords and financiers), appear to be little more than political cover for Horne and Brewer to launch a pre-planned attack.”

Besides mentioning Horne’s idea for a federal lawsuit, Short’s letter lays the groundwork for the theory that state employees are at risk of being federally prosecuted for simply carrying out the wishes of Arizona’s voters.

You cant fix stupidHorne and Brewer claimed last month that their lawsuit — in which they are plaintiffs attempting to defeat the will of the voters — that they’re “concerned” about state employees being prosecuted.

Yet, according to New Times, U.S. Attorney Burke never threatened state employees in his own letter, and the idea that the Obama Administration would arrest state officials in Arizona (or in Washington, where Governor Christine Gregoire used an almost identical excuse to gut a law which would have legalized dispensaries there) is simply far-fetched — as in, it has never happened, anywhere, ever.

“Brewer and Horne could have let Burke and the DEA make the first move against Arizona voters, then defended the medical marijuana law as vigorously as they’re defending the immigration laws,” Stern writes. “Instead, the governor and AG appear to be working in concert with Proposition 203’s opponents to defeat the law by any means necessary.”

Article From Toke of the Town and republished with special permission.


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  1. When she gets done bashing people who are sick and going after those less fortunate than herself, someone ask Jan, “Where’s the jobs?”

  2. The last 3 lines above did not format correctly. The lines following “conflict with the CSA” are mine, up until that point the opinion of the California Court of Appeals.

    “had opted not to impose criminal penalties did not positively conflict with the CSA.
    Like I said earlier, the SCOTUS wasn’t interested so it’s only binding in California but it sure broadcasts the SCOTUS’ opinion loud and clear.”

  3. There is absolutely zero chance of the Federal Courts striking this law. The issue was in front of the SCOTUS in 2009 and they declined to even hear the case of County of San Diego vs San Diego NORML.
    One of the more amusing things about the case is that San Diego NORML had nothing to do with the litigation beyond threatening to sue San Diego County if they didn’t start issuing patient ID cards in compliance with SB-420. So San Diego County sued them preemptively which is how it got its name.
    quoted from link above —–> “The court concluded that the
    County lacked standing to challenge those portions of the MMP and CUA that did not apply to it and did not injuriously affect it. That included major portions of the enactments, which did not impose obligations on the County or inflict injury upon it. Deciding the validity of those provisions would amount to giving an impermissible advisory opinion.
    To the extent limited portions of the MMP, namely those
    provisions requiring counties to adopt and operate the identification card system, did impose obligations on the County, the County had standing to raise preemption claims strictly in that regard.
    The court then turned to the issue of preemption, the touchstone of which was Congress’s intent in enacting the CSA. In particular, the CSA expressly limits preemption to only those state laws in which there is a positive conflict between the federal and state law so that the two cannot consistently operate together.
    The court determined that the state identification laws did not positively conflict with the CSA. The County identified no provision of the CSA that necessarily was violated when a county complied with its obligations under the state laws. To the contrary, the CSA was entirely silent on the ability of states to provide identification cards to citizens, and an entity that did so did not engage in conduct banned by the CSA.
    As a result, because the CSA did not compel the states to impose criminal penalties for marijuana possession, the requirement that counties issue identification cards for those against whom California had opted not to impose criminal penalties did not positively conflict with the CSA.
    Like I said earlier, the SCOTUS wasn’t interested so it’s only binding in California but it sure broadcasts the SCOTUS’ opinion loud and clear.

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