- Published on Thursday, 05 January 2012
- Written by Gene Ganjian
PHOENIX — Attempts by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to block the state’s medical marijuana program got a severe beating yesterday that brought some good news for a change to the medical marijuana industry.
U.S District Court Judge Susan Bolton tossed out a lawsuit the state filed last spring that put into question the legality of Arizona’s voter-initiated medical cannabis laws. State officials were concerned workers in the state’s dispensary licensing division could be prosecuted as marijuana remains federally illegal.
However, Judge Bolton ruled that state attorneys were not able to prove the concern that state employees could face federal prosecution for doing what state voters wanted - to regulate marijuana dispensaries. There are now 16 states plus the nation’s capital District of Columbia that permit medical marijuana use - but not a single government employee in these states participating in the MMJ regulation process has ever been prosecuted.
The judge also noted that there has never been any threat made by the feds to prosecute government workers who abide by the duly passed state laws on medical marijuana.
It will be recalled that Gov. Brewer filed the case to stop the licensing program even before it started, putting its fate in the hands of Judge Bolton who earlier in the case threatened to dismiss it as the state had failed to take an official stand on the issue. Shortly thereafter, the state adapted the position that Arizona’s medical marijuana laws ran afoul of federal laws and should be rescinded.
The decision now puts Gov. Brewer in an embarrassing light as her stance of blocking the medical marijuana program can’t even be upheld by a federal judge, making it difficult for state officials to continue opposing the program. Many advocates and marijuana business professionals are very eager to see launch of several medical dispensaries storefronts in Arizona towards the end of the year. But those who have been following the state's slow development says it can be on hold again if the state files an appeal.
Surprisingly, as of last night a Channel 12(KPNX-TV) reporter tweeted that Gov. Brewer is to refile the medical marijuana lawsuit, THCbiz has yet to confirm this statement as there was no answer from Brewer's communication office.
We'll update this as soon as we get the latest word.
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