Federal Judge Grants ACLU Request to Throw Out Lawsuit Challenging Arizona Medical Marijuana Law

January 4, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

 

PHOENIX – A federal judge today granted an American Civil Liberties Union request to throw out a lawsuit filed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer seeking to strike down the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law that would allow sick patients to access important medicine.

Filed in May, Brewer argued in the lawsuit that state officials fear federal prosecution for implementing the law, despite Arizona’s former top federal prosecutor saying publicly the federal government has “no intention of targeting or going after people who are implementing or who are in compliance with state law.”

In today’s ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton said there is no genuine threat of imminent federal prosecution of state officials who carry out the law.

“It is unconscionable for Governor Brewer to continue to force very sick people to needlessly suffer by stripping them of the legal avenue through which to obtain their vital medicine," said Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project. "Today’s ruling underscores the need for state officials to stop playing politics and implement the law as approved by a majority of Arizona voters so that thousands of patients can access the medicine their doctors believe is most effective for them."

Arizona voters in 2010 passed Proposition 203, which allows seriously ill patients in Arizona to use marijuana as medicine with a doctor’s recommendation. The law allows marijuana to be distributed by tightly regulated clinics to patients with state-issued registry cards and exempts from state prosecution not only seriously ill Arizonans but also their caregivers and a limited number of certified, non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries that will serve qualifying patients.
 

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