A federal judge today tossed Governor Jan Brewer's lawsuit against the state's Medical Marijuana Act, saying in her ruling that the state's complaint wasn't ripe.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton dismissed the case without prejudice and invited the state to file an amended complaint to correct the flaws in their argument. However, Brewer and state Attorney General Tom Horne have made it clear they're loathe to do what Bolton asks: Pick a side for or against the law.
Brewer and Horne both opposed Prop 203 before it was passed narrowly by voters in November of 2010, but they didn't want to be perceived as attacking their own state's law. So, they tried to have it both ways with a lawsuit that asked the federal court whether the medical pot was legal, yet didn't state their opposition to the law.
That stance doesn't fly, Bolton said during a hearing a few weeks ago.
In her new ruling, Bolton notes that "no credible evidence" exists that state workers are at imminent risk of prosecution by administering the pot program. She wrote:
...the Complaint does not detail any history of prosecution of state employees for participation in state medical marijuana licensing schemes. See Wolfson, 616 F.3d at 1058.3 The Complaint fails to establish that Plaintiffs are subject to a genuine threat of imminent prosecution and consequently, the Complaint does not meet the constitutional requirements for ripeness. Therefore, Plaintiffs' claims are unripe and must be dismissed.
Governor Brewer's defiance of the law continues, however: The state Department of Health Services still won't issue permits for medical-pot dispensaries because of her orders.
We'll contact the Gov's office to find out if their mission to thwart the will of voters has a Plan B.
In the meantime, medical-pot supporters can breathe easier for the time being without the threat that the voter-approved law is going to be struck down in federal court.
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Bolton's ruling follows: