Department of Justice tells AZ Gov. Brewer: “Dismiss your lawsuit, you have no case!”

A funny thing happened on Monday. The Department of Justice filed a brief regarding state medical marijuana laws in Arizona . . . and it was a good thing, and was met with appreciation from the medical marijuana movement! Seriously. After the disappointments of the vague, not very helpful Cole memo, and the expected but still disappointing DEA denial of marijuana’s medical value, it was great to see the Department of Justice (DoJ) doing the right thing regarding medical marijuana, even if it was only in a limited way.

As you may know, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, last seen promoting states’ rights and vowing to fight on when it comes to illegal immigration, and her Attorney General, Tom Horne, had filed a suit as plaintiffs against the federal government, requesting permission to move ahead with Arizona’s medical marijuana program implementation. This was ridiculous, since no other governor has needed federal permission to move ahead with medical marijuana implementation, even though some others have also tried to use the red herring threat of federal action to slow implementation. Apparently, the DoJ also thinks Brewer’s claims are ridiculous, and it said as much in its withering Motion to Dismiss brief, in which it took apart each of the state of Arizona’s arguments, urging the court to dismiss the case. If the court dismisses the case, Brewer’s logical course of action would be to fully implement Arizona’s medical marijuana law, including licensing more than 100 dispensaries, though given her intransigence, that course of action is sadly not a given.

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.

The brief attacks the premise of Arizona’s suit in several ways. It says that the suit does not raise a substantial federal question (which it must in order to be heard first in federal court) because it asks for a declaratory judgment on the validity of a state law. It is amusing to watch the federal government explain Constitutional Law 101 to Gov. Brewer, noting that, “there is no federal jurisdiction of a suit by a state to declare the validity of its regulations despite possibly conflicting federal law” (p. 6). The brief also states directly that Arizona has not asserted any “actual, concrete controversy” in its complaint. The brief criticizes the plaintiffs for not identifying a controversy between the parties in the suit and notes the plaintiffs’ failure to take a side as a fatal flaw in the lawsuit, accusing the state of Arizona of “attempt[ing] to manufacture disputes among other parties” (p. 9). The brief criticizes Arizona’s decision to create twenty fictitious defendants, ten on one side of the law and ten on the other, states its doubts about the existence of the hypothetical defendants, and notes definitively that “parties cannot have ‘adverse legal interests’ necessary to establish a live controversy, when one party (particularly the plaintiff) professes to take neither side of the dispute” (p. 10). Finally, the brief denies that Arizona even has standing to raise such a claim, as it has not suffered any “injury in fact.” Basing standing on the idea that some Arizonans disagree about federal law’s effect on Arizona’s medical marijuana law will not work, nor will an unspecific suggestion about a “supposed risk that Arizona citizens will lose revenue or property” (pp. 11-12).

More importantly on a national level, this DoJ brief appears to affirm the following interpretation of the Ogden and Cole Memorandums, along with other relevant case law and actual enforcement: that there has been no demonstration that the federal government is interested in prosecuting state employees for implementing state medical marijuana programs and issuing dispensary licenses. The DoJ cites the lack of any “genuine threat that any state employee will face imminent prosecution under federal law” (p. 2) and notes that “plaintiffs can point to no threat of enforcement against the State’s employees” (p. 10). The brief notes that Arizona has no “concrete plan to act in violation of the Controlled Substances Act,” as it has refused to accept dispensary applications and issue licenses (an act that MPP believes, based on relevant court precedent, would clearly not be such a violation). The brief notes that Arizona was not able to produce any threat, generalized or specific, directed towards its state employees, and it points to the omission of any state employee threats in Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke’s letter on the issue (p. 14). The brief dismisses Arizona’s suggestion that Arizona state employees are subject to federal prosecution as “mere speculation” (p. 15). It sums up this argument when it says:

Plaintiffs identify no prior instances in which the federal government has sought to prosecute state employees for the conduct vaguely described in Plaintiffs’ complaint. Without evidence of such prior prosecutions, Plaintiffs cannot credibly show a genuine threat of imminent prosecution in this case. (p. 15)

This message from the DoJ is heartening, along with U.S. Attorney Burke’s clear statement that going after state employees “is not a priority for us, and will not be.” This brief also comes on the heels of the statement of former U.S. Attorney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who said definitively about his decision to implement the state’s medical marijuana program:

I don’t believe the United States Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, given the narrow and medically based nature of our program, will expend what are significantly lessening federal law enforcement resources in the context of the federal budget, on going after dispensaries in New Jersey, our Department of Health or other state workers who are helping to implement this program.

These recent events all suggest that the Department of Justice is interpreting its guidance to mean that state employees can fully implement medical marijuana programs, like those in Arizona and Rhode Island, with no fear of prosecution. So let’s get it done, Governors Brewer and Chaffee! Time is wasting, and people are hurting and need their medicine now.


19 thoughts on “Department of Justice tells AZ Gov. Brewer: “Dismiss your lawsuit, you have no case!””

  1. i love how “real” jan brewer is and how consistent she is with her policies. Also what race is she i think its orange caucasian

  2. This is decent news, at least under the current Administration, in that it gives the impression that they have drawn a line over which they will not cross in the witch hunt against cannabis when it comes to state medical marijuana programs.

    However, subsequent administrations (or even this one re-elected) could change their minds about how far they allow the let the enforcers of the cannabis Malleus Maleficarum, namely the DEA, pursue things.

    The specific parallel with the Malleus Maleficarum is that the DEA allows and accepts only research that demonizes cannabis, just as in Europe the witch hunters set their scales fast so that no matter how much the witch or weight on the other side weighed it would always seem as if the witch weighed nothing at all. You see, witches were deemed to weigh only up to 2 and a half ounces, which in the Dark Ages and Middle Ages equates to about 250 grammes in today’s standards. A witch had to weigh next to nothing in order to defy gravity and ride a broomstick through the sky to the witches sabbath, you see. That way the witch hunter could be assured she was guilty, execute her, and seize her assets, then move on to the next area rich enough for them to plunder, once they were done going after as much money and riches as they could in a particular region.

    The only known “fair” scale for witches that wasn’t bolted fast was the scale in Oudewater, Netherlands, which is a museum you can visit in Zuid-Holland. So, if you are going to Amsterdam and can afford the visit, it’s something else of interest in South Holland. Amazingly, once a woman had a certificate from the scale in Oudewater attesting to her real weight and that she therefore could not be a witch, it was honored. She thus saved herself from being burnt at the stake. It’s estimated that over a million women were burnt at the stake as witches in Europe. Needless to say, woman came from all over Europe to Oudewater to save themselves. Can you blame them?! It’s a shame for those who couldn’t. Greed!

    I hope that this is as good as a certificate from Oudewater for lady cannabis.

    I certainly hope Oudewater makes it onto the UNESCO World Heritage List.

    Here are some links you may find interesting regarding witch hunts and Oudewater.

  3. Slightly off-topic, but big honkin’ kudos to your graphics folks for the ‘Welcome to AZ’ image — LOVE IT!!

  4. People ARE Hurting ans NEED their Medicine NOW!!, thats the phrase that is the most truest of them all. get rid of traffic cops and meter maids while you’re at it. Lets get smart.

  5. Great info! Thanks for keeping us folks informed on this subject. As an Arizona native, I’ve seen and heard it all. We passed the ‘Voter Protection Act’ for a reason. Brewer: Leave us alone and let us get our medicine!
    Much love to all!

  6. Thanks for the compliments and links, folks! And filthy assistant, I completely agree, huge kudos to the amazing Dusty Trice for putting together that clever, on-point, “Welcome to Arizona” image!

  7. The waste of State funds to produce such a circus of expensive motions should be at the top of everyone’s mind during re-election. Your tax dollars being wasted on stupidity beyond reason.

  8. I have to wonder who Ms. Brewer takes as her role model for this kind of anti-human behavior. Ms. Brewer’s actions are consistent with her close ties to the private, for-profit prison industry (the people who want to lock up your kids so that they can keep on making a buck): Here’s some info from Wikipedia, and a link to the underlying story:

    “The Brewer administration has also been investigated by KPHO for hiring Chuck Coughlin and Paul Senseman, both lobbyists for Corrections Corporation of America, as a policy advisor and communications director.[39] Although Coughlin continues work as both a lobbyist and policy advisor, Senseman no longer does work for CCA. CCA operates six private, for-profit prisons in Arizona.[40] ”.
    Here’s the KPHO story, including a description of tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money from Corrections Corporation.
    So Ms. Brewer is working to keep marijuana illegal and is at the same time hiring staff from a very large, for-profit prison corporation and taking campaign money from them. The AZ campaign finance site is at but it’s not working for me; can anybody go in and see how much Ms. Brewer has taken from the prison industry? Is that really the government that we want… run by the prison companies? Is there someone in AZ that could get this info into the public arena?

    Note that Ms. Brewer says she is trying to make sure no Arizona citizen unwittingly breaks Federal law (in which case they could end up in Federal prison). Does she prefer to keep marijuana illegal under Arizona law, so that people who use it can be sent to an Arizona prison (run by her campaign contributor, C
    If you live in Arizona, you need to hammer-hammer-hammer this idea with your local and state media.

  9. My last question in my earlier post should have read, “Does Ms. Brewer prefer to keep marijuana illegal under Arizona law, so that people who use it can be sent to an Arizona prison (run by her campaign contributor, Corrections Corporation of America)?”

  10. wow is theat the beast gov. that az. can elect? She look s like a dried prune old bag like the kind yoused to see in s. fl. So glad I saw this site! I was thinking to move to Az but not now. I will wait and see how this turns out

  11. brewer is an idiot, plane and simple. The people of AZ spoke loud and clear regarding what they wanted. Now she thinks she can hold up the will of her own people? Wow, what a loser. The marijuana will bring so much needed revenue to AZ and brewer says noooooooo. This Gov. has zero common sense! I got my card already! Let’s go.

  12. That is one smart move. Think of it. IF the DoJ makes any moves against AZ in their implementation, Brewer can throw their own arguments right in their face. Not only that, she has a Federal Judge as her prime witness.

  13. So we have another so called Tparty Republican that runs on a ” Freedom” ticket, just to get into office and morph right back into a nazi fascist GoTP.

    Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power. Benito Mussolini

    “We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike” – Adolf Hitler

  14. Here’s a recent quote from the senile old hag;

    “Well, we all know that the majority of the people that are coming to Arizona and trespassing are now becoming drug mules. They’re coming across our borders in huge numbers. The drug cartels have taken control of the immigration.”So they are criminals. They’re breaking the law when they are trespassing and they’re criminals when they pack the marijuana and the drugs on their backs.”

    Hey Govna, if this is true and you let the people of AZ grow cannabis for themselves, all these “tresspassing Mexican criminals” will no longer have a market for their crappy dirt weed and the’ll stay home.

  15. YAHOO!
    Shame on you Gov. Remember God has final word on your actions.

    God Bless the good people of ARIZONA.


  16. I agree that this issue could be resolved in a way that benefits the American economy and assists in ending the unimaginable suffering bothhere and abroad. The bigger issue, not that the amazing curative qualities of medicinal marijuana are slight, is that hemp, with its ever so tiny trace amounts of THC, is prohibited. Making people understand that hemp is not the demon plant that the Hearst empire brainwashed the world to believe it is, is the key to allowing other forms of cannabis to becme moe widely accepted. A way to say, “Yeah, but look what else it can do!”

    Ultmately, the supporters of any form of cannabis sativa, need to come together and organize a defense in a manner equal to theassault, and I thnk we’e missing hug demographic by not reachingoutmore to corn, soy, and wheat farmers. This country pays people not to farm where the surplus would devastate the market. Could that governmen spending not be redued and replaced instead with the revenues of hemp sales? Hello, Tea Party, how are you?

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