Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery issued a formal opinion to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors today advising the Board to refrain from taking steps to implement Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act until an apparent conflict with federal law is resolved in federal court.
“I applaud the decision of the Governor to direct Attorney General Tom Horne to pursue a declaratory judgment action in Federal Court as to whether Arizona can implement the Medical Marijuana Act,” Montgomery said. “The opinion I have issued today is designed to safeguard County employees from the potential for federal prosecution unless and until this tension between state and federal law with respect to Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act is resolved,” he added.
Montgomery’s opinion seeks to forestall that portion of the Act which requires any planning or zoning efforts by Maricopa County employees until a declaratory judgment is issued by federal court. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Horne are seeking similar clarification in order to properly direct state employees tasked under the Act with issuing permits for medical marijuana dispensaries.
“We’re past the policy argument and now it’s the necessity of a legal determination to resolve what quite readily appears to be a conflict between what Arizona voters want and what federal law permits,” Montgomery said.