Arizona Sues Feds Over Medical Marijuana

Jan Brewer wants clarification on federal law before proceeding
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2011 11:00 AM CDT
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Arizona's medical marijuana law is now stuck in legal limbo. Gov. Jan Brewer has put a temporary halt on the permit process for dispensaries just days before it was to begin, reports the Arizona Republic. Brewer and the state won't move ahead until they get clarification on whether state employees could run into legal trouble under federal law, which doesn't recognize the medical distinction. Arizona's attorney general filed suit yesterday against the Justice Department asking a judge to figure it out.

Critics, however, say Brewer is just using the issue as a pretext to cripple the state's fledgling industry. (She opposed the measure approved by voters in November.) Typical line of attack: One advocate tells KOLD-TV that she's a hypocrite for dissing federal law on immigration but using it as a tool to delay legal pot. The US attorney in Arizona tells the Republic that "we have no intention of targeting or going after people who are implementing or who are in compliance with state law." But, highlighting the legal ambiguity of the issue, he adds: "At the same, they can't be under the impression that they have immunity, amnesty or safe haven." (Read more Jan Brewer stories.)

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