Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brewer vs medpot

A story by Phoenix state-beat reporter Paul Davenport in today's edition reports that Governor Brewer has been thrown out of court again in her attempt to establish that state workers are liable under federal law and so the state cannot license dispensaries for medical cannabis. A lot of commenters are throwing well deserved  heads of overripe cabbage at her for this, but there's another angle worth considering.

Brewer: "Triffids! Run!"
   The court is saying that the state has no standing to sue until it has credible evidence or threat of harm, and that rings true, but there's also no question that the federal gubmint really does not want a ruling on the core question, at least not yet.
   The eventual ruling on this question will turn either on a real case of a state worker being federally indicted for administering state law, which has not happened so far and seems vanishingly unlikely (unless Rick Santorum somehow wins), or on the clear absence of federal action against any state worker.
   If the latter proves out, and it seems likely to me, the federal courts will have said in essence that the feds have been doing the right thing and may not interfere with state laws in this regard. This will turn the issue over to the states, invalidate any federal policy on medpot, and open the door wide for more medpot programs and state regulation (and taxation) of cannabis.
   The unavoidable inconsistency of both federal and state laws regarding cannabis will eventually force the public to face the issue of broader legalization in a more practical context. California may pass its legalization initiative soon, which will put an accelerator on the process nationwide.
   So Governor Brewer, in her clumsy haste to stop medpot here, may be doing more to ensure its institution. Go, Jan!

Update, Jan 13: Damn, she dropped the suit!