New Jersey Governor Chris Christie isn't scared of the feds anymore when it comes to medical marijuana dispensaries.
Though the Republican governor said last month he would wait for assurance from the U.S. Justice Department before allowing dispensaries, which were approved by his state's Legislature two years ago, Christie reversed course in an announcement yesterday.
Though he still has some concerns, he now believes New Jersey state workers won't be prosecuted by the federal government.
Then there's Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
Despite a clear victory in the 2010 by Arizona voters, Brewer thumbed her nose at democracy in May when she ordered the state Department of Health Services to reject dispensary applications. The outspoken opponent of Prop 203 claims she's not thwarting voters -- she's just worried about the potential threat to state employees.
Yet a letter sent May 2 by Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke to the state Department of Health Services, which manages Arizona's medical marijuana program, didn't speak of the possible prosecution of state workers. Burke has since stated publicly that he wouldn't target them.
Meanwhile, Brewer -- along with state Attorney General Tom Horne -- continues to press a lawsuit in court that begs for the feds' approval of Arizona's voter-approved law.
As New Times reported in this blog and in our current feature article about the state of Arizona's medical marijuana program, Horne and Brewer appear to be taking cues from the leader of the Prop 203 opposition campaign, Carolyn Short. In January, Short and Horne had a sit-down meeting in which Short outlined a strategy to focus on the supposed threat to state employees. The two also discussed filing a declaratory judgment in federal court -- a plan that ultimately was put into place despite opposition at the time by DHS director Will Humble.
Now that one Republican governor is standing up to the feds and supporting states' rights, Brewer has a decision to make.
She could keep flouting the 1998 Voter Protection Act through legal trickery.
Or she could halt her kowtowing to the federal government and implement the law as voters intended.
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