The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona joined forces with White Mountain Health Center in their lawsuit seeking to compel Maricopa County to allow a medical marijuana dispensary to operate as required under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The ACLU will join Kaufman as co-counsel and handle legal issues related to preemption, while Kaufman will handle all other matters. In addition to Montgomery and Maricopa County, the state Department of Health Services and its director, Will Humble, are defendants in the lawsuit.
“Maricopa County is attempting to thwart the will of the people,” said Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project. “Voters approved this measure so patients who suffer from serious medical conditions can have safe and reliable access to their medicine. The regulation of drugs and medicine is traditionally a power exercised by the states, and the Constitution allows Arizona and the federal government to make different policy choices in these arenas.”
“Arizona residents were fed up with the irrational denial of needed treatments to persons with debilitating illnesses and voted for a law that addresses the problem in a practical way by regulating dispensaries and caregivers who serve patients,” said Daniel Pochoda, ACLU of Arizona legal director. “Montgomery is doing everything he can to derail those efforts and invalidate a law that received public support.”
“Marijuana is still largely criminalized in Arizona,” added Edwards. “However, Arizona has chosen, as is its right, to decriminalize and regulate the medicinal use of marijuana. Federal law does not prevent Arizona voters from decriminalizing conduct that remains criminal under federal law.”
A hearing on the case has been scheduled Oct. 19.