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Federal Attorneys Ask Judge to Throw Out Law Suit Filed by Gov. Brewer on Legality of State Medical Marijuana Law

Phoenix, AZ – While Arizona voters approved a law setting up a system for some people to buy marijuana from state-regulated dispensaries, possession and sale of the drug remain illegal under federal law. So the governor directed Attorney General Tom Horne to seek some answers to the issue from a federal judge. In the meantime, the state health department is not licensing any dispensaries. In legal papers filed in federal court, deputy U-S Attorney Scott Risner urged Judge Susan Bolton to toss the case. He said there's nothing for the court to rule on, as no one is under immediate threat of prosecution. But Horne pointed out that what federal prosecutors have said is that medical marijuana USERS likely have nothing to fear.

(They gave no assurance to state employees. They gave no assurance to dispensaries. And they said they were going to vigorously prosecute anyone who is involved in the distribution of marijuana. What unbelievable hypocrites!)

Risner also said there could be no threat to state workers since Arizona is not currently licensing dispensaries. Horne called that argument illogical.

(We held that up pending the decision of the court. We can't just not issue them in perpetuity without a court decision. So here we asked for the court decision and we said we'll hold it up until there is a court decision. And then they say you weren't granting the licenses so there's no conflict. That's a good definition of sophistry.)

It's not just the Department of Justice trying to have the governor's lawsuit dismissed. Would-be dispensary operators and American Civil Liberties Union are making similar arguments. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.