The state cannot try to shut down medical marijuana clubs because Gov. Jan Brewer is ignoring the will of voters, an attorney for one of the clubs is arguing.

Michael Walz said he is not conceding that the clubs, where dues-paying members can get free marijuana, are operating outside the scope of the medical marijuana law approved by voters last year. Walz and lawyers representing other clubs believe their operations fit within an exception.

But Walz said that the state has no right to go to court to try to shut the operations down.

“The voters passed Proposition 203 that required the state to set up a number of dispensaries, about 126,” he said Tuesday. Those dispensaries were supposed to be where individuals with certain medical conditions could legally obtain up to 2 1/2 ounces of the drug every two weeks.

But Brewer along with state Health Director Will Humble are refusing to even accept applications to run the dispensaries.

The governor said she feared that state employees who would process the forms could be subject to criminal prosecution under federal laws, which make it a crime to even facilitate someone obtaining illegal drugs. And marijuana remains illegal under federal statutes.

Brewer also directed state Attorney General Tom Horne to file suit, asking a federal judge if Arizona can implement its medical marijuana law — including licensing dispensaries — despite the federal laws. But in the meantime, no dispensaries are being licensed even though there already are close to 11,000 Arizonans who have state-issued permits to purchase and use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

“She’s refusing to follow the law without any legal excuse,” said Walz who represents the Arizona Compassion Club. “That’s just not tolerable.”

What it is, however, is a legal opening for Walz to try to have the state’s lawsuit to shutter his client’s club and others thrown out.

“The law recognizes that, in certain situations, that when the government acts improperly, that they can’t get the relief that they are seeking,” he said.

Beyond that, Walz is arguing to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean Fink that it’s the state’s own fault that the clubs have opened their doors.

He said that his client would never have opened up a club in the first place had the state and its officials followed the voter-approved law in the first place.

“If there were 126 registered medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona, all the defendant (club) would have no reason to exist,” he said.

“Medical marijuana patients deserve to have their medicine,” he said. And Walz said members of the club he represents have a “sincere desire” to help those patients.

“This is really the only way to do it,” Walz said.

Assistant Attorney General Lori Davis called Walz’ contention “factually and legally incorrect.”

“The state has implemented the (medical marijuana) law to the extent it can,” she said. And Davis said Brewer “acted responsibly” in refusing to allow state health officials to process applications for dispensaries.

“She really didn’t have a choice,” Davis said, with the possibility that state workers could be prosecuted for violating federal law.

Davis said that, with the exception of licensing dispensaries, Brewer and state officials have complied with every other aspect of the voter-approved law. That includes adopting rules and regulations as well as issuing medical marijuana cards to patients who have a doctor’s recommendation saying that they have a condition which could be treated with the drug.

The argument by the marijuana clubs is that they are simply providing homes for nonprofit organizations that accept the donation of marijuana and seeds by people who grow their own, which is legal under Arizona law. These organizations then give away what they collect.

The state’s lawsuit to shutter the clubs is based on the premise that the marijuana clubs, by charging a membership fee to get inside — where the organizations and their give-away drugs are located — are effectively selling marijuana. Only licensed dispensary operators, of which there are none, can do that.

(5) comments

Arizona Willie

Governor Brewer has NO right under the State Constitution to set aside a law, or part of a law, because she is "afraid of the consequences ".

She is denying people their right to medication under the state medical marijuana law and she is denying people their right to run a business that is legal under state law.

SHE IS COMMITTING A CRIME by denying people their legal rights.

Why isn't she being charged?

Where is Sheriff Joe now?

seabourne

Tell your Congressional Representatives -
It is time to "Change the Schedule of Cannabis, Cannabis Laws, and Drug Czar Laws"
Read and Sign the petition at

http://www.change.org/petitions/change-the-schedule-of-cannabis-cannabis-laws-and-drug-czar-laws

If you haven’t asked your representative and senator to support policy change, what are you waiting for? Sign the petition send an email.

seabourne

Every year 1.5 million people are sickened or severely injured by medication mistakes, and 100,000 die.

According to a 2007 study by Furberg and colleagues, 4 of the top 10 deadliest drugs are the strong opiate painkillers like oxycodone.

The fifth deadliest drug is acetaminophen, available one over-the-counter. It can cause irreversible and sometimes fatal liver damage in doses that are not much higher than the effective dose. Roughly 400 deaths and 42,000 hospitalizations occur each year due to acetaminophen overdoses.

Darvon and Darvocet, a mild opiate drug have been found to be no more effective than aspirin— yet they can cause heart damage.

86 million people suffer chronic pain. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) more than 1/3 of Americans suffer a chronic pain condition at some point in their life. In a 1998 guide on directions of pain research by the NIH, and still in today’s economy as noted in a NIH January 2010 document, the economic impact is 100 Billion Dollars a year.

Not one person has ever died from cannabis in the entire history of the plant! Cannabis is a proven anti-inflammaory. Inflammation causes diseases of all sorts.

If the body is low on cannabinoids, just as with any other deficiency, the body does not function correctly since the endocannabinoid system regulates all other systems in the body. Misinformation has done much damage over the last 73 years as has the war on a plant and those who use it. Cannabis has continually been shown to be a remarkable anti-inflammatory which could be of great help to the 86 million people that suffer chronic pain. No one ever died from cannabis/marijuana though much suffering has taken place from the prohibition of it. It is time to end this travesty.

Lack of cannabinoids - can cause cancer, digestive ailments, migrains, fibromyalgia, just to name a few. We are now generations into cannabinoid deprivation and the health consequences are showing. For example cannabis kills cancer at the cellular level. All cells are programmed to die. When a cell looses that part of it's program, and fails to die, it becomes cancerous. Cannabis in essence re-programs that cell, teaching it to die instead of turning into cancer. Prior to 1937 one third of all medications were cannabis based. We had much less cancer, digestive problems, and Fibromyalgia is basically a fairly new disease. Many scientists are now agreeing that lack of cannabinoids can actually cause many health issues. Inflammation causes a great many diseases and cannabis is an amazing anti-inflammatory.

PeacefulCat

Mike Walz is a marijuana litigation lawyer. These pot pirates have been laundering money off marijuana litigation since the drug war was declared in 1971 by Nixon.

This is not about free pot for sick people. This is about keeping the price of marijuana so high that people will continue to suffer, rob, smuggle, kill and pay the pot police and attorneys for protection.

We need to end the prohibition of marijuana. Anyone can grow more pot on their patio than they can smoke. All this is about greed. Let the Agrigarian churches and the doctors take care of the people that want cannabis for spiritual and physical relief. Pot is a gift from God. And people need to learn to mind their own business. That is a hard lesson.

az2008

I think this topic demonstrates how duplicituous the Hard Right is. On any other topic, Brewer and the so-called Tea Party would scream "states' rights." She would have flouted federal law and forced the feds to sue the state.

This time she's all Ms. Manners. "Oh, we don't want to put our state workers at risk of federal charges. We better sue to the federal government to do their job.. and if they don't... then we'll support the will of the voters."

I think it's sad. I could sort of respect the Hard Right and so-called Tea Party if they were consistent. But, when they say "less government" they really mean "in areas that are important to us." That's no different than any other political group. It's just that other political groups don't have to dress themselves up in high-sounding, principled rhetoric (which, in reality, is little more than self-serving).

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