Federal Judge Dismisses Arizona Governor's Challenge to Her Own State's Medical Marijuana Law


Yesterday a federal judge dismissed Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's legal challenge to her own state's medical marijuana law, saying she had offered "no credible evidence" that her underlings would be at risk of federal prosecution for executing the law. Brewer has been blocking implementation of the provisions allowing state-licensed dispensaries since May, ostensibly because she is worried about the potential legal exposure of state regulators, although Arizona's U.S. attorney has said he has no intention of prosecuting them. Brewer, an avowed champion of the 10th Amendment and the state autonomy it guarantees, initially claimed she was merely seeking clarification of whether the medical marijuana law is pre-empted by the Controlled Substances Act, but last month she dropped that pretense and asked U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton to rule that it is. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department urged Bolton to dismiss Brewer's suit. In yesterday's decision, Bolton agreed that Brewer had failed to state a claim:

Plaintiffs do not challenge any specific action taken by any defendant. Plaintiffs also do not describe any actions by state employees that were in violation of [the Controlled Substances Act] or any threat of prosecution for any reason by federal officials. These issues, as presented, are not appropriate for judicial review….

The Complaint does not detail any history of prosecution of state employees for participation in state medical marijuana licensing schemes….The Complaint fails to establish that Plaintiffs are subject to a genuine threat of imminent prosecution and consequently, the Complaint does not meet the constitutional requirements for ripeness. 

Brewer, who spoke against the medical marijuana law before voters approved it last November, says she has not decided yet whether to appeal Bolton's decision.

[via the Drug War Chronicle]