County Prosecutors Want Halt to Medical Pot Program

Jul 31, 2012

Prosecutors from 13 of the state's 15 counties are asking Gov. Jan Brewer to halt the medical marijuana program.

The 2010 voter-approved law lets those with a doctor's recommendation get a state-issued card allowing them to obtain up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks. Nearly 30,000 already have been issued. It also requires the state to license dispensaries to sell the drugs. The first of those licenses should be issued within weeks. Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk wrote to Brewer on behalf of her colleagues saying she has been told -- though she does not say by whom -- that John Leonardo, the new U.S. Attorney for Arizona intends to raid new dispensaries as they open. Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said his boss never supported the initiative.

"But she has done all she can to ask the courts to give the state guidance on this," Benson said. "And at this point this is the law of the land and she feels she is duty bound to implement it. So that's what the state of Arizona is doing at this time."

Benson said a federal judge threw out Brewer's request to say if there's a conflict between state and federal law. And a state judge, in a separate ruling, said the governor has no right to ignore the 2010 law requiring her health department to set up the dispensaries. Benson said absent a court order to the contrary, his boss will not unilaterally try to overrule that law.