Medical Marijuana Debate Is Not Over Yet

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Just when we thought all the controversy with medical marijuana was over, Gov. Jan Brewer and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne sued the U. S. Department of Justice to render a decision on the possibility of state employees being subject to arrest for overseeing and allowing the sale of marijuana for medical purposes.

As of now, even though the public voted to legalize the use of medical marijuana, it is still a federal offense to possess or use no matter what the purpose.

Several associations wanting to get the process started have voiced a negative opinion of the governor’s action.

In reality, the governor needs to be commended and supported for her efforts in protecting state workers involved in setting up the licensing of dispensaries. Both she and the attorney general want to know “can we or can’t we?”

On June 6 the Justice Department stated that any medical marijuana dispensaries or licensed growers could be arrested and prosecuted for violating federal anti-drug and money laundering laws.

A memo addressing this issue was recently sent to all federal prosecutors. States offering medical marijuana will not be exempt from federal prosecution and neither will state employees who implement such laws.

When medical marijuana was first brought to public attention and states began voting to legalize its use, federal prosecutors gave those states a little leeway; but no longer is that the case. As more states (right now there are 16, including Arizona and the District of Columbia) move toward legalizing the drug, the Justice Department is toughening its position on this issue.

The problem the Justice Department has stems from growers and cultivators developing massive agricultural businesses devoted to harvesting thousands of plants worth millions of dollars. The business has the potential to become so large even major manufacturers of food and fertilizer for agricultural purposes such as Miracle-Gro want their share of the pie.

According to Deputy Attorney General James Cole: “Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana (medical or not) and those who knowingly facilitate such actions are in violation of the Controlled Substance Act, regardless of state law.”

Federal law supersedes state law, that is a fact we all have to recognize no matter on which side of the issue we stand.

Sometimes people voting in propositions haven’t thoroughly studied the proposed legislation or understand the consequences of violating federal laws.

Gov. Brewer was acting in the best interest of her constituents as well as state employees when she requested an opinion from the Justice Department.

Since the memo and ruling came out last month, several other governors from states that had previously approved medical marijuana have taken a similar stance to Gov. Brewer’s and postponed the implementation of their state’s law sanctioning the distribution of medical marijuana.

Most recently the national television news stations reported that research shows there is no evidence that supports medical marijuana having any medicinal value.

This is probably not the end to the controversy. Stay tuned for more on this subject.

References: www.newmexicoindependent.com; www.miamiherald.com; www.reuters.com.

Don’t use, abuse or be confused!

For questions or more information on the Gila County Meth Coalition, contact chair Claudia DalMolin at the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, (928) 425-4440; co-chair Bianca DalMolin, (928) 701-1790; facilitator Misty Cisneros, (928) 425-1879; or media liaison Lu DuBois, (928) 425-4440.

Presented by the Gila County Meth Coalition

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