Will AZ Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Receive Permits?
Governors Court Case Dismissed, Will AZ Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Receive Permits?
On Wednesday, a lawsuit filed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was thrown out of court. Brewer’s suit sought a judgment concerning the state’s newly adopted medical marijuana law, Prop 203. Brewer filed the suit prompted by a letter from federal prosecutors, warning Department of Health Service employees of the risk of persecution for implementing the law. U.S. District court judge Susan Bolton’s claimed the suit was not viable and Brewer had not “established a genuine threat of prosecution” towards state employees. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion to dismiss the case. According to the Huffington Post, Ezekiel Edwards of the ACLU made this statement, “Today’s ruling underscores the need for state officials to stop playing politics and implement the law as approved by a majority of Arizona voters as that thousands of patients can access the medicine their doctors believe is most effective for them.” The judge has given Brewer thirty-days to re-file the case and she is expected to do so.
Prop 203 allows DHS to issue permits to the owners of dispensaries, though Brewer ordered all applications rejected until the suit was settled –putting a halt to any dispensaries being open in the state. Prop 203 was approved by voters in November of 2010 and close to 18,000 patients have since received their medical marijuana card. The new Arizona law allows patients and caregivers to grow their own plants if they live more than twenty-five miles from a dispensary, leaving them in a legal limbo. Having to grow it themselves, state officials also seem to be concerned about 100,000 projected new marijuana gardens in the state over the next few years.
Groups of would-be dispensary owners have begun the process of filing their own law suits in Maricopa County (jurisdiction of Sheriff Joe Arpaio,) for blocking the law which allows them to legally operate.
After the state law vs. federal law delay tactic of Governor Brewer, it is a hit-or-miss to see whether dispensary permits will begin to be accepted by DHS, or if she and her team of lawyers will re-file in an attempt to put more road-blocks in the way of Arizona Medical Marijuana patients and dispensary owners.
For more information visit the Arizona Department of Health Services website, http://www.azdhs.gov/medicalmarijuana/On .