Earlier this month Judge Susan Bolton dismissed Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s lawsuit, which sought assurances that state employees would not be prosecuted for implementing a voter-approved medical marijuana dispensary system. Last week Gov. Brewer announced she would not appeal the decision or refile the suit.
Judge Bolton concluded that the state didn’t satisfactorily demonstrate that its workers were at any risk of federal prosecution. Brewer had the opportunity to amend the suit but announced she would not pursue the case.
With the lawsuit dismissed the state could begin the process of accepting applications from potential dispensary operators. However, Brewer – who admits her opposition to Arizona’s medical marijuana law – is directing AZ’s health department to hold off until a separate lawsuit over state dispensary rules is settled.
Additionally, Brewer asked AZ U.S. attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel to “ameliorate any doubt and provide the state of Arizona with clear guidance as to the Department of Justice’s enforcement position.”
Brewer made clear her commitment to delaying or derailing the voter-approved law despite having no evidence of state employees being threatened: “I won’t hesitate to halt state involvement in the AMMA (Arizona Medical Marijuana Act) if I receive indication that state employees face prosecution due to their duties in administering this law.”
According to Arizona’s health director, even if the outstanding lawsuit is settled, dispensary applications won’t be accepted until September at the earliest – nearly a year and a half after the state was to begin the program.