Monday, August 8, 2011

DOJ says no 'genuine threat' that state employees will be prosecuted over MMJ programs

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 5:40 PM


We're a little late to this, but the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-marijuana-legalization group, brings word that on Aug. 1, the Department of Justice filed a request to dismiss the state of Arizona's lawsuit against the federal government. It asks the federal courts to determine if the state's recently passed medical marijuana law is legal or not.

The lawsuit was prompted by Gov. Jan Brewer's worries that the state's law would incite federal action, thus the suit seeking clarification. The DOJ's response, filed by U.S. Attorney Scott Risner, rejects Arizona's request on a variety of levels, namely court jurisdiction and validity, but it also includes this nugget in the brief: "The claim they present is not ripe for review, as they point to no genuine threat that any state employee will face imminent prosecution under federal law." Also, later in the filing: "Here, Plaintiffs point to a letter from United States Attorney Burke ... But nothing in the letter refers to state employees."

The MPP:

Throughout its brief, the DoJ basically said that the state of Arizona has no case and that plaintiffs Gov. Brewer and AG Horne have invented a controversy where none exists. Further, the brief notes that a state is not allowed to bring a case asking two sides to fight it out, without taking a position on the law in question, belying Gov. Brewer’s claims upon the suit’s filing of being a neutral party seeking “clarity.” The American judicial process simply does not work that way. In its brief, the DoJ’s criticism of the plaintiffs’ complaint was often direct and sometimes even slightly mocking, which was definitely appreciated by this reader.

See the full brief, via MPP, here:

Feds' Motion to Dismiss

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