Battle Brewing in Arizona

This is an editorial from the Yuma Sun.  “Arizona’s county attorneys — including ours in Yuma County — want to head off an intergovernmental conflict that appears to be looming over marijuana.  But our state’s governor said Monday she can’t go along with them — and with good reason.
The conflict revolves around Arizona’s medical marijuana law that was approved by voters in 2010 but is yet to be fully implemented. The state Department of Health Services has been issuing identity cards to tens of thousands of authorized medical marijuana users as part of the law so they can possess and use a defined amount of the drug.

In addition, the licensing of 126 state-authorized medical marijuana dispensaries — including possibly several in Yuma County — is expected to begin soon. Authorized users under the law can grow their own “pot” if no nearby dispensaries are available.

The top prosecutors in 13 of the 15 counties recently asked the governor to stop the process. The reason is reportedly that the U.S. attorney for our state has indicated he will close down all dispensaries that try to open because it would be a violation of federal anti-drug laws, even though a number of other states have had them for years. The reality is that law enforcement and political officials in Arizona have opposed the law since it passed, and that includes the governor. They believe it could be a violation of federal law.

That is why Gov. Jan Brewer asked a federal court last year to intervene and clarify if there would be a conflict with federal drug laws if the marijuana law was implemented. The court refused, essentially saying there couldn’t be a ruling until the law was in effect. In a separate ruling, a federal judge told the governor she couldn’t ignore the voter mandate to put the law in place.

It couldn’t be much more clear than that. The governor says those two rulings essentially end the discussion. We think she is right.

It looks to us like the stage could be set for a coming battle if the county attorneys are correct about the intentions of the U.S. attorney, who would presumably have the support of the U.S. Justice Department.

Will Arizona end up in another messy legal fight? We may know soon.
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[image: Google images Arizona]

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Author: DavidB

a heathen, but hopefully not an unenlightened one

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