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Flagstaff Lawyer: Pot Suit Frivolous

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Flagstaff attorney Lee Phillips has spent the last week talking to other lawyers from across the state on how to best respond to the state's legal challenge to the voter-approved Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

The consensus? Another legal action from either the American Civil Liberties Union or from the Marijuana Policy Project, the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the country, seeking to dismiss the suit.

Gov. Jan Brewer and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne have said they filed the lawsuit to clarify whether the conflict between state law and the federal ban on marijuana puts state employees involved in implementing the new policy at risk of federal prosecution.

Phillips, who represents clients seeking to set up dispensaries, believes the lawsuit is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to delay the implementation of the voter-approved medical marijuana laws.

Brewer's lawsuit, he says, essentially asks for a guarantee by the feds not to enforce federal drug laws, which is legally impossible.

"There is no real basis in federal law for what the governor is asking for," Phillips said.

He is optimistic the state legal action will be dismissed by a federal judge in the near future.

Phillips, said each of his six clients here in northern Arizona understands the difference between the federal and state laws related to medical marijuana.

"They are doing this with their eyes open," he said.

The new state laws have built the legal framework for the state to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to open and for patients under strict medical supervision to seek "cards" for drug. Nearly a dozen other states have similar laws or are in the process of enacting them.

But it is unclear, according to Brewer, how the federal government feels about the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

The governor's office continues to cite a statement from the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke, that the federal government continues to consider marijuana a controlled substance.

The statement suggests that Arizona could lose federal funding if federal drug laws are not enforced.

"Arizonans deserve clarity on an issue with such dire legal implications," Brewer said.

Burke has said his position on medical marijuana has not changed: The priorities are to go after those who grow, sell or transport marijuana, not state workers or patients.

Phillips believes the lawsuit is little more than political pandering to the extreme right wing in Arizona politics.

"It is unfortunate that the governor and the attorney general would choose to ignore the will of the people by filing this frivolous lawsuit," he said. "Every day they delay the implementation of the law, people with serious and even terminal illnesses are suffering."

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: azdailysun.com
Author: Joe Ferguson
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Copyright: azdailysun.com
Website: Flagstaff lawyer: Pot suit frivolous
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