States’ rights claim from Brewer goes to pot
by E. J. Montini
Gov. Jan Brewer is a champion of states’ rights.
Except when she’s not.
Like, for instance, when it comes to defending a citizen-approved proposition authorizing dispensaries for medical marijuana.
(Feel free to insert your favorite marijuana-pun headline here: “States’ rights claim goes up in smoke.” Or “… goes to pot.” Or the more subtle “Jan backs away from Mary Jane.” Or a stoner favorite like, “Doobie-ous support for states’ rights.”)
Brewer, Attorney General Tom Horne and others were against the medical-marijuana proposition, but voters approved it anyway.
Since then, the governor has refused to allow a portion of the law that allows for the creation of the dispensaries to go into effect, saying that she was worried that federal prosecutors might arrest state employees who process the paperwork.
It’s a ridiculous notion, since that hasn’t happened in any of the other states where medical marijuana is legal.
And it seems kind of odd coming from a politician who claims to eat scorpions for breakfast and calls federal authority into question by saying things like, “We (the states) need to be able to make the decisions that control the destiny of our populations. And if the (federal) government would step back and give us the opportunity, we would do a great job.”
Of course, that would only be true if Brewer really was a champion of states’ rights. Which she is.
Except when she’s not.
Not long ago the governor’s spokesman said that Brewer would bow to federal authority when it comes to medical marijuana.
“The governor believes that the distribution portion is pre-empted by federal drug law, so the state’s legal filing will be amended to represent that,” Matthew Benson said. “The governor’s primary concern has always been for the welfare of her state employees.”
That really isn’t saying much since those employees were never under any threat of being arrested should all the provisions of Proposition 203 go into effect.
And where’s the tough talk about states controlling their own destinies, as happens each time Brewer brings up Senate Bill 1070 and Arizona’s challenge of federal authority?
Brewer has said, “The United States has a federal government, not a national government. For the next four years, Arizona will continue to pursue a policy of renewed federalism. …”
And we do. Except when we don’t.
Brewer is back to scorpion eating when it comes to President Barack Obama’s national health-care program. Last year at this time, Brewer’s office issued a press release under the headline, “Governor Brewer Continues Fight for States’ Rights.” It quoted Brewer calling the health-care plan “a massive intrusion and violation of states’ rights.”
“What this shows is that the real issue isn’t states’ rights,” he said. “It is taking whatever agenda that they have and using states’ rights to make it work. Or to pander to their political base.”
Gerald Gaines States Rights
Gaines is involved in a lawsuit against the state for not allowing the voter-approved dispensaries to open.
“I understand the motivation behind what the governor is doing,” he said. “In the Religious Right community, there is a very strong feeling that medical marijuana is just a fig leaf for illicit use and that illicit use is a personal shortcoming that the state should not be supporting.
“I believe there is some real genuine support on the Republican side that feels that this should not be legal. I am comfortable with them having that feeling, but they lost the vote. There were fewer of them than there were of people who saw the medical benefits. The fact is that the governor and others are choosing to ignore the will of the people and instead are trying to respond to their voter base. It’s hypocrisy.”
The proposition passed by voters allows for 125 medical-marijuana dispensaries statewide. It also allows for state-issued ID cards for patients who can use medical pot for certain health conditions. While the state is collecting fees on more than 16,000 such cards, many of the people holding them have nowhere to purchase marijuana.
A scorpion-eating champion of states’ rights would not kowtow to the feds on this. Except when she does.
Reach Montini at 602-444-8978 or firstname.lastname@example.org.