Arizona's top prosecutor asked a judge Thursday morning to void a key provision in the state's 2-year-old medical marijuana law.
In legal papers filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, Attorney General Tom Horne argued that voters are legally powerless to authorize anyone to sell marijuana as long as it remains illegal under federal law.
The real goal is to get a ruling declaring the state and federal laws in conflict. Horne said that will then allow him to direct the state Department of Health Services to halt the current process of licensing up to 126 dispensaries to sell the drugs.
Horne is not seeking to invalidate the approximately 30,000 cards which the health department has issued to people who have a doctor's recommendation to use the drug. He said there is a technical legal difference to how Arizona law is worded that he believes allows state officials to provide the cards as identification.
But Horne said that, as far as he is concerned, there is "no legal way'' for those people to get their drugs. Not only does he believe that dispensaries are illegal, he contends the state is powerless to allow marijuana users to grow their own drugs.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery filed similar paperwork in the same case.
Montgomery, however, takes an even narrower view of the law: He believes the state-issued cards to medical marijuana users also are preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act.