Arizona governor, Jan Brewer, has been dragging her feet ever since medical marijuana was legalized last year, using a lawsuit against the Department of Justice as an excuse not to authorize the 100 dispensaries that by rights should be up and running in the state. It looks like even the DoJ thinks this is absurd:
A funny thing happened on Monday. The Department of Justice filed a brief regarding state medical marijuana laws in Arizona … and it was a good thing, and was met with appreciation from the medical marijuana movement! Seriously. After the disappointments of the vague, not very helpful Cole memo, and the expected but still disappointing DEA denial of marijuana’s medical value, it was great to see the Department of Justice (DoJ) doing the right thing regarding medical marijuana, even if it was only in a limited way.
As you may know, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, last seen promoting states’ rights and vowing to fight on when it comes to illegal immigration, and her Attorney General, Tom Horne, had filed a suit as plaintiffs against the federal government, requesting permission to move ahead with Arizona’s medical marijuana program implementation. This was ridiculous, since no other governor has needed federal permission to move ahead with medical marijuana implementation, even though some others have also tried to use the red herring threat of federal action to slow implementation. Apparently, the DoJ also thinks Brewer’s claims are ridiculous, and it said as much in its withering Motion to Dismiss brief, in which it took apart each of the state of Arizona’s arguments, urging the court to dismiss the case. If the court dismisses the case, Brewer’s logical course of action would be to fully implement Arizona’s medical marijuana law, including licensing more than 100 dispensaries, though given her intransigence, that course of action is sadly not a given.
So will Arizona have medical marijuana soon? If the courts agree with the DoJ, then yes. Whether Brewer and Horne find some other way to drag this out, however, remains to be seen.
Ed Kain , Contributor to Forbes