Arizona Gov. Brewer seeks federal shutdown of state medical marijuana program

Funny how when it’s immigration, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer claims states rights and opposes federal interference, but when it’s the state voting for medical marijuana, she invites federal interference.

(East Valley Tribune) Saying she fears people could wind up in legal trouble, Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday ordered the state attorney general to get a federal court to rule whether Arizona can implement its medical marijuana law.
[S]he said a letter from Dennis Burke, the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, to her state health chief appeared to be a warning that anyone involved — from patients and dispensary operators to landlords and even state health officials — could wind up being prosecuted by his office.

Boo!  The scare letter tactic seems to be working.  Rhode Island balked, Washington balked, now Arizona.  Despite the fact that this medical marijuana has been federally illegal the whole time and New Mexico and Colorado have been licensing dispensaries for years with no federal interference

“I believe in the will of the people,” Brewer said, even though she personally opposed the initiative. “Unfortunately, with this piece of legislation, there are some pretty serious consequences if we don’t get them resolved,” she continued. “And I, as governor, am not willing to put those people at risk.”

Bull.  You opposed the initiative and you’re using the empty threat from a US Attorney to provide the cover for you to overturn what was only 50.13% of the people’s will.

Despite that, the state will continue issuing “qualified patient” cards to anyone who produces the required doctor’s certification that they have a medical condition which can be treated with marijuana.
Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said the state really has no choice: The initiative approved in November says if the state does not accept applications, then anyone who has the doctor’s recommendation is automatically considered to have been issued a card.

That’s some pretty clever language drafting there.  I have to give props to the folks at MPP who came up with that one.  If you don’t get a card 45 days after turning in your recommendation, that recommendation is your valid card. Either the state controls who is a legal medical marijuana patient or thousands of doctors will.  You’d think if the governor wanted to have some control over this, she wouldn’t try to stop issuing the cards.

About 4,000 Arizonans already are certified under state law to be able to purchase up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

That’s a pretty rapid growth curve!  Remember, this initiative wasn’t even officially passed until December and the online-only registration system opened up just six weeks ago.

[Brewer] wants to know whether state officials who issue dispensary licenses can be prosecuted because they are “facilitating” the distribution of marijuana. And Brewer said she fears that the state Department of Public Safety could lose federal grants by refusing as a matter of policy to arrest those caught with the drug simply because they are complying with state law.

Now you’re really reaching, Governor.  You can’t name any one of the now 16 medical marijuana states over the past fourteen years that has lost a single federal grant for not locking up patients.
As for the dispensary licenses?  Remember how much I complained about the “25-mile halo rule”?  This was a part of MPP’s language that said you could only grow your own medical marijuana if you lived more than 25 miles from a dispensary.  Well, if Brewer gets the answer we know she’ll get, which is “hell, yes, the feds could go after state employees”, and she directs the state to issue no dispensary licenses, that means all those current 4,000 patients can grow their own dozen cannabis plants.  That could be over 30,000 patients within a year growing over 400,000 cannabis plants all over Arizona.
Again, you’d think if the governor wanted to have some control over this, she’d implement the law, issue dispensary licenses, and keep the vast majority of cultivation in licensed, inspected, secure locations.

104 thoughts

  1. DAMN! That woman’s UGLY as HELL!!! She’s just trying to scare people with two of that hideous face, but she really is putting herself further down into that pit of destruction.

  2. I say start a nation wide private registry and screw the local level. Put the fees into a general fund to defend those PATIENTS/CAREGIVERS who get arrested for using cannabis for medical reasons.
    I’m disabled live and Michigan and frigging sick and tired of having to worry about my health and getting arrested even though I’m completely legal.
    I’m waiting for the Democrats to start their BS to try buddy up to those of us who know the truth about cannabis so we’ll vote for them in 2012.
    Guess what? They do that they’ll lose my vote!
    After all the promises made by Obama on the campaign trail the first time about how he wants medical marijuana users left alone was frigging lie.
    Cannabis has never killed anyone it financed our country and its time to stop the marijuana prohibition and wasting billions of tax payer dollars every year.
    “Sow your hemp seeds everywhere” GW (George Washington, not George Bush)

  3. The Federal Government will run out of money if they continue this war. 16 states mmj more to follow! Vegas looking to legalize! Here in Washington the WESTNET needs to be shut down arresting people who have little to no money to fight them in court. Using heavyhanded tactic’s going after the arrestie’s family threating the family’s that needs to stop. It would be nice if NORML Would make some attorney’s pro bono! I will continue to fight the westnet bring them down to their knee’s! Smalltown’s need a Giant spotlight aimed at the police,sherriff’s department’s.
    There is light in this dark but the dark continues to attack

  4. What’s worse, Democrats keeping the War On Some Drugs going or Republicans showing how two-faced they are when it comes to states’ rights issues?

  5. Interesting take I got from this article. Could she secretly support legalization? I.E. Saying, “Sorry, I can’t do what you want.”, but by not doing anything allowing the situation to exponentially grow in the state changing the law from a restrictive MMJ law to one of the loosest least regulated in the country.
    I see this working doubly for her by assuring her conservative base she trying to stop it, but by doing nothing helping the opposing side by letting it happen in a natural and way more explosive fashion.
    It was definitely crafted so that inaction by the state wouldn’t invalidate the people’s will. That is one of the best pieces of legislation I’ve seen in a long while. A sort of ultimatum as, “This is the will of the people, implement it or we will.” With that kind of language. Like was said, if she’s so adamant against it, then is it not better to have control where limits can be place effectively?
    If her position is as she says, then she needs to go to her state legislature to amend the law.

  6. Let’s not forget the arrest immunity provided by the Federal Controlled Substances Act, Section 885 (Burden of Proof) Statute D. Explicitly states: … no civil or criminal liability shall be imposed [on] any Federal, state, or local officials… . I believe it’s time to get LOUD!

  7. Where is the outrage? It’s like Libya I ask you what is the difference. Legacy of fear and control. The state continues to take in revenue and proposed X3 taxation. Are you kidding me. Know one protests. The sore loser railroading 840.000 votes. No mention of this. I’m astonished.

  8. Government is defying its own power – and – the consequence of this denial of Faith and Sacrament – will be that government will bear the results of its own actions on the bosom of its soul – or – the void where a soul once existed – and – we will wear governments boot print on our ass.
    A show of force – and – acts of intimidation – by the DOJ – “Will not scare Genesists back to submission.” They will only assuredly cause an increasingly higher wall of defense – until that wall becomes impenetrable. If the DOJ continues to use force against its citizens [for any reason] – that force will be considered a violation against the Country, The Constitution, its laws, and The American People – but – most especially The American Genesist.. That continued show of force – will be considered an act of war – as it is so named and portrayed by government as [War On Drugs]. Most assuredly – it is a domestic war, and social revolution, with the greater percentage in favor of legalization. We’ve gotten this far since our Sacrament has been denied us. Many of our brethren have fallen to this “War on Drugs.” Many have fallen on both sides. All of them went and gave some – some of then went and gave it all.”
    “The next step is to go a little crazy…right!” This is where you have the honor of choosing – “this way – or – that way.” Which is it? Become active and do just one thing – Demand/Mandate Scientific Conclusion, derived from, and based on scientific research, from every source of science – with the evidence being submitted to a candid public for its examination.

  9. As an Arizona resident it amazes me how this Governor has no problem taking on the federal government over her rascist immigration laws but buddys up to the feds to keep medication away from people who need it.
    This state is under siege by political bullys and dictators like Brewer and Arpio, please somebody help us !!!!!! The people have spoken stand down Brewer nobodys impressed by you undermining the will of the people.

  10. Good I can not stand this medical marijuana movement. Now lets get back to legalization for everybody. Then the sick wont have to break FEDERAL LAW!!

  11. New Topic(kinda): The will of the people
    Our constitution starts with, “We the people…”. Our democracy was founded on the principle of representation. This was done indirectly(through elected officials) when the constitution was set up. Times have changed and many times (like in this story) politicians go against the will of the people for their own purposes. Whether it be because of re-election, personal principles, lobbying efforts by a few, or possibly something else doesn’t matter. What matters, is that the people’s will isn’t being followed. This was why our government was founded, “No taxation without representation!” Now the cry needs to be, “No taxing without true representation!”
    How do we fix this? Initiatives and Referendums(I&R) allow the people to correct mistakes they think the government has made through direct(will of the people, not a politician vote) democracy. How many actually have any form of direct(non-purely representative) democracy? How many states have direct democracy to propose new laws(AKA a non-politician can get a law on the ballot box)? How many states support the main forms of direct democracy(aka voting an issue up/down no matter how proposed)?
    The first is 49(only in Delaware do people not get to vote on state constitutional amendments). Though about half only have politician initiated and then citizen voted direct democracy with no other form.
    21 (21 directly and 13 more indirectly) for the second(citizen initiated) and guess what? 9 of those have MMJ now that’s almost half the places where, “We the people…” actually means something.
    Sadly it’s only 8 for this third one, but 7 of those 8 have MMJ. Makes one think?
    To quote a founding father, Thomas Jefferson, “Some are whigs, liberals, democrats, call them what you please. Others are tories, serviles, aristocrats, &c. The latter fear the people, and wish to transfer all power to the higher classes of society; the former consider the people as the safest depository of power in the last resort; they cherish them therefore, and wish to leave in them all the powers to the exercise of which they are competent.”[sic]
    The more famous quote, “Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.”, actually belongs to John Basil Barnhill
    The more power given to the people the more likely we are to be free of tyranny where the very few control the many and have liberty. WE THE PEOPLE need to make that mean something again.
    The other side: On a federal level we live in a Republic. It is a representative democracy with checks and balances to try to ensure that the rights of the few are subjected to the will of the many. This is good, but I think the problem is the balance is wrong.
    Food for thought: (Take these proposals as referendums and you can see how both sides are right and need to be respected.)
    The date is Nov. 2 2002 with 9/11 still fresh in the minds of the people. It’s a mid-term election day. The question on the ballot, “Should Sunni(all the attacker were Sunni extremists) Muslims be banned from the U.S?”
    It’s very possible the answer would have been yes with people not understanding the terrorist views are an extreme POV by a few within a much larger group.
    Now our issue. I’m going with MMJ rather than full decrim as it has the most popular support. (AKA from people like parents who want people to have medicine, but think drugs are never good for recreation). The question, “Should the U.S. implement a national medical marijuana program?”
    This would of course force rescheduling, etc… an would like be passed as over support is easily of 2/3’s the general populace.
    We must have direct democracy, but with a system of checks and balances along the lines of PotUS veto or a SCotUS challenge. This would ensure the people get their will done and that the executive/judicial branches can still uphold the rights of the few(which is supposed to be a big part of the SCotUS’s job). With this proposition one might have passed, but it would have likely been vetoed or if not out of non-reelection fears then a Sunni could easily challenge it under his/her 1st amendment rights and likely easily win. A republic is fine, but WE THE PEOPLE need to make sure democracy is not lost.
    My suggestion: Write your congressman/woman and tell them to propose a law or amendment to give the people more power. If they balk at it, ask them why not? If they continue to say no, then you know who the, “tories, serviles, aristocrats, &c”[sic], Jefferson was speaking of are. Honestly, the government shouldn’t fear the people, but should respect the people. Respect is reciprocal, you want respect you must give it. Be polite, be courteous, but be firm.
    WE THE PEOPLE need to make it mean something again.
    Charles Lupton

  12. Ultimately, this isn’t about Brewer. It’s about the Obama administration’s two-faced approach to medical marijuana. Many people have the impression that Obama has kept his campaign pledge and directed the feds not to use scarce resources to go after medical marijuana in states where it is legal. We all remember the Holder memo. The truth is that Obama put the same woman in charge of the DEA that led all the raids under Bush, and the raids and intimidation have continued. He wants to have his cake and eat it, too, so to speak. He wants the youth and the progressive vote, so he hopes people aren’t paying attention to what is really going on. I think it’s pretty clear that Obama is an enemy of the medical cannabis community. We should all think hard before supporting him.

  13. I no longer live in az. but in the 80s we the people passed medical marijuana into law only to have that Gov. Simmington crook. veto the will of the people.worthless piece of crap.

  14. I want to be Governor and work for the people. We could smoke joints in my office while we straighten out the state of Az. vote for me.

  15. Again how can something that over 50% of the people voted for be shutdown? Then why even vote? If politicans can change it if they don’t like it then whats the point? Freedom? HA!

  16. I would say we could legalize , regulate and tax it to see if it can keep medicare and medicaid going. Marijuana can generate more than enough money for alot of things. It can and will help. So give it a chance , unless your’re afraid WE THE PEOPLE are right. If oil can have subsidies than we can put money in healthcare from marijuana sales. Great for stock market.

  17. what do u expect from a polition? rember the first Bush, ” Read My Lips No New Taxes”. upper here the gov. of Mn. said the rich will pay more in taxes, well made not, well take it from the poor,elder and disabled. politications will say anything u want to here till they get in there and then it’s ah what I, didn’t say that. CROOKS

  18. Then we come to learn that a Marine veteran who served two terms in Iraq is shot 60 times by Arizona “law enforcement” in Pima County in a botched MJ raid. Of course, the cops tried to claim that he shot first (after he told his wife and kid to hide in the closet), but evidence shows that not only did he NOT shoot–he had the friggin’ safety of his gun on.
    The victim, Jose Guerena, had no prior arrests–and no MJ. Guess that wasn’t enough to keep the trigger-happy Arizona cops from pumping 60 bullets into him. Gee, it seems they don’t like potheads–that is, unless it’s them smoking the stuff they confiscate.

  19. Who the hell are we supposed to vote for next?
    Obama turned out worse than Bush. Amazingly, Obama continues to lie about the War on Drugs. He even claims there is no War, while ramping it up! I refuse to vote for him, and give the DEA another boost.
    The Republicans, while claiming to support the Constitution and personal freedom, have been brainwashed almost to a man.
    Ron Paul speaks the truth, but he never scores high in polls.
    It sure seems hopeless.

  20. is this lady an idiot look at all the other states that have medical laws. and we still get fed funding this lady is stupid get with time screw the federal government

  21. Jan Brewer is suing the Feds over this one, who are rapidly trying to back-track on the letters and are complaining loudly over being sued lol.
    We may want to give her the benefit of the doubt, at least for a bit.

  22. WE THE PEOPLE hasnt meant nothin 4 a long time…Im sorry mr lupton, but its true, and its not the peoples fault…it congress…now…the constitution also states that states govern themselves, therefore, like the other states that have med. marijuana, they dont really have nething 2 worry about bc they r stayin w/in guidelines…all it is is an empty threat…if they do go through w/ it, its gonna cause chaos all over the country and they know it, and they dont want that…most of our government doesnt respect its citizens, but we still try 2 respect our government…The governor of AZ needs 2 converse w/ some of the other med. marijuana state governors and get things situated…otherwise our government is just gonna continue 2 try and force us in2 submission…and ppl may laugh at this or not believe it at all, but 1 of these days the ppl r gonna get tired of bein screwed over and its gonna tear our country apart…and that sux

  23. Comments are moderated for appropriateness to our topics of interest?
    (What happen to freedom of speech)?
    Sounds like another that is afraid to let the people speak out. I am glad that us Veterans aren’t scared to open our mouth. We are fighting for getting it legal in our state in AR. Tyranny is not fought with words, look at all the so called countries that we have claimed to be oppressed. Now take a look in our own back yard.
    Makes us a real winner right?

  24. more of the same more of the same…
    I’m tired being angry, tired of being disappointed. I’m hungry for CHANGE (yes that might mean sending money). I backed Arizona on the immigration thing specifically because it’s a states rights issue and by extension so should medical marijuana be a states issue. This is crap but ultimately it means nothing. Nor does the draconian law in Oklahoma. It just means “stay underground”– don’t worry fellow Groundhogs, one day our shadow will be gone and spring will be here.

  25. 23. Longtime Puffer Greetings from Manford “Manny” Mantis
    If that doesn’t create a violent reaction in your gut, I don’t know what, on this planet, would. What! it took 60 bullets – one wouldn’t do. How botched up was this raid. All gave some – some gave it all. They’re killing us man! Was there a dog in the house? They kill dogs too. They kill horses don’t they?
    With details – this could be the straw that broke the camels back – and – the poster boy for a cease and desist order from we the people – at the very least American Genesists. We are thoroughly outraged by this attack on the American people. If this isn’t “war” – I don’t know what is.
    Good seeing you on the boards again.

  26. 23. Puff
    I found the story on Huffington Post. I could only read half of it – because – it made me so angry – I had to take Sacrament to calm me down. If any thing in this world ever made me want to “punch Government squarely in the nose” it was this story. But- we are a peaceful people – regardless of wanting to get a “huge piece full of governments ass – tack it up on the wall – and – throw darts at it.” We the People should send a “Cease and Desist Order” to government – with Guerena as the Poster Boy.
    I appeal to all Genesists in the U.S. – Flood the Governors phone with you anger. For God’s sake – don’t let them think that they have gottten away with anything.

  27. Lets ask the question if it was her in pain all the time and the only thing that really took the pain away was marijuana then you think she would get with the program. Some of us cannot take pain medications due to allergies and that prevents us from having a normal life. To have the federal government interfere with the state laws just overrides the purpose for even having state laws. The governor is clearly on her own agenda and should be thinking of the mass population that can use medical marijuana for health reasons. The thought of driving under the influence should not be a concern because if you look at it this way alcohol is legal and not everyone breaks the law. Anyway you look at there is going to be law breakers and they are the stupid ones let the smart ones live a normal life.

  28. TO ALL GENESISTS IN ARIZONA and anyone of interest.
    Make up color posters with Jose Guereno’s military picture all over it. Now! like the success of 4-20 @ 4:20 take the posters and go stand in front of any government office.
    “If a single Genesist plant him or her self indomitably on his or her instincts – and there abide – the huge world will come round to him or her.” Make a sea of Guereno posters as far as the eye can see. Let’s make an example out of these killer robots. Every one in Arizona should have a Jose Guereno T-shirt to rub the killer robots nose in – all day – every day – 24/7. We must do this for our fallen brethren. It’s an honor to do this.

  29. What have you done this week to support the organizations that are lobbying on our behalf? Norml and their local affiliates need money to keep their advocacy going. ASA, MPP and countless other activist organizations are busting their bums for us. That’s how change happens now. You gotta love the bit in AZ’s law about power reverting back to the people if the government doesn’t pick up the ball. That came from a seasoned activist. It costs money.
    in peace…

  30. I wonder if the governor is proud of the Pima County Police who just gunned down an ex-Marine, in an attempt to find marijuana.
    The police burst into this poor guy’s home and, when they saw that he was carrying a gun, they blasted him with over 70 shots!
    They found no marijuana or other illegal activity, but they did find the man’s terrified wife and 4 year-old son hiding in a closet.
    When is this kind of crap going to end?
    Obama will probably give these officers a medal.

    April 6th by DEA Deputy Administrator of Diversion Control, Joseph Rannazzisi “There may be in excess of 100 cannabinoid products that have yet to be introduced into the marketplace. Manufacturers and distributors will continue to be one step ahead of any State or Federal drug-specific banning or control action by introducing / repackaging new cannabinoid products that are not controlled”.
    How ironic, the way for the natural cannabinoids paved by research chemicals sold over the internet… thats how this all ends? heh heh heh. whatevers clever, DEA.

  32. I’m not sure why everyone is criticizing AZ’s governor. It sounds like she’s trying to get the federal government to make up it’s damn mind, whether the states are allowed to proceed with their own medical marijuana laws, or not. She doesn’t want a bunch of raids and drug cartel murders occuring in her state. So far the feds have danced around the issue and refused to give us any definitive answers. That’s that problem with the decriminalization/legalization movement; it’s riddled with diehard liberals who refuse to acknowledge that the federal government are the only ones holding us back. Stop blaming Brewer, and start blaming Obama and Eric Holder.

  33. Dear Jan:
    You are governor of a state. Enforcing federal laws is not only not your job, it is outside your position.
    Your job is to lead and protect the people of your state.
    If i was an Arizonan, you’d be siding with the enemy. Your state population is your only concern.

  34. You really shouldn’t get so worried about her asking for the court’s opinion, because nothing can legally come of it. The courts cannot rule on the validity of any law simply at the request of a governor or other politician. In order to get the courts to rule on the validity of a law, you have to have legal standing to bring a lawsuit, which Brewer does not have here. Legal standing is achieved when your rights are violated by a law, giving you a legitimate grievance upon which to act. Currently, nobody, even the federal government, has standing to challenge this law because the law has not been implemented yet. A law which has not yet been implemented cannot be litigated in court. Once this law is implemented, the only people with legal standing to bring it to court will be the federal government, because the law is not in accordance with their laws, or the patients, if they allege that the system is inadequate to meet the stated goals of the law. That’s it. Brewer does not, and will not, have the standing to bring this law to court. If she wants to know how legal the law is, she has to let it be implemented and wait for the federal government to bring a lawsuit. Right now, the only thing that can possibly happen is individual justices may give their private opinions of whether the law is likely to be found legal. However, those are only the private opinion on individual justices, and cannot be taken as a binding decision by any court. This is just ineffectual grandstanding by Brewer, a giant bluff. If any court tries to make a ruling on this law at this point, such a ruling would be illegal.

  35. I made a little error in my above post. Patients will actually have standing to bring this law to court for two reasons. The first, as I previously stated, would be if patients felt the system was inadequate to accomplish the goals of the law. The second is when the feds decide to arrest people following the state law. It’s very important to remember that if the feds ignore a state law to persecute you, you have the right to sue them.

  36. I have been a Republican all my life, and I am over 50.
    If the Republican Party cannot get in line with the will of the people, and support, and PUSH FOR the legalization of marijuana, I am going to chnage parties, and influence my large family to follow suite.
    Any political party that does not stand for PERSONAL FREEDOM of the American citizen should not be allowed to exist.
    With that said, please stand up with me against any political party that will not stand with us.
    You know the saying “If they are not for US, they are against US”. Let’s send a message. Please take the time to write a letter or email your elected Representatives. If you don’t know who they are, internet search for your State’s website, and do a little searching. They are easy to find, and they need to hear from YOU.

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