Pubdate: Sun, 01 Jan 2012
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2012 The Arizona Republic
Author: 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."

Gerald Gaines, the CEO of a medical-marijuana advocacy group called
Compassion First AZ, wonders where the "states' rights" vehemence is
for his organization.

"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."

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

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.
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D