Courts are muddling the marijuana laws
posted by Tom Patterson
at 22 December, 1:17 PM 0
Here’s a real head scratcher. The Arizona Court of Appeals has upheld Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon’s rule that federal laws don’t preempt Arizona’s medical marijuana law. Maricopa County Atty. Bill Montgomery must implement the law. So let me get this straight. Even though, as the court acknowledges, federal prosecutors have explicitly warned that state officials could be facilitating federal crimes if they implement the law by aiding dispensaries and even though federal prosecutors have shuttered dispensaries and acted to enforce the federal law in California and other states, Montgomery is just being paranoid with his efforts to get the law clarified. Still don’t see the problem? According to California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, over there “there’s a feeling that the federal government has gone rogue on hundreds of legal, transparent medical marijuana dispensaries, so there’s this feeling of them being in limbo. And it puts the patients, the businesses and the advocates in a very untenable place.” That’s not all. Government officials in Mendocino County have retained a criminal defense attorney after receiving a demand from federal federal investigators for detailed information about a system for licensing growers of medical marijuana. But never mind, I guess. Judge Gordon also wrote that Arizona’s medical marijuana act doesn’t undermine the federal Control Substances Act . But wait. The federal act makes possession, sale or use of marijuana a crime while state law legalizes it in some circumstances. Come on man, that’s a dead on conflict and we all know it. I don’t know or care if Montgomery is pursuing a personal political agenda, as Montini and others insinuate. The feds are jacking us around with their “maybe we will, maybe we won’t but we can if we want to” approach to enforcement and the courts aren’t helping with their muddled reasoning. But Montgomry is right to ignore the taunts from the press and to move forward. Arizona doesn’t deserve the “limbo” of unclear, inconsistently enforced laws.
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