Court Commissioner in AZ Wants Deputies to Return Medical Marijuana to Woman in CA
A court commissioner in Yuma County, Arizona - Lisa Bleich – wants sheriff’s deputies in her county to return medical marijuana they confiscated from a legal California medical marijuana patient.
Valerie Okun has a valid CA medical marijuana card, and the medical marijuana law in Arizona specifically provides for honoring valid cards from other states. Deputies confiscated 3/4ths of an ounce from her at an interstate checkpoint last year, citing Arizona drug laws.
Five months later, Okun’s case was dismissed. Okun then filed for return of her property, with a judge ordering its release.
When Yuma County Sheriff Ralph Ogden refused, the judge ordered both sides to submit legal arguments to Bleich. And Bleich has ordered the return of Okun’s property.
"Congress did not intend to trample on the rights of the state to make their own laws pertaining to illegal drugs and medical marijuana use,” she wrote earlier this year, rejecting arguments by prosecutors that federal laws making possession and distribution of marijuana a crime override the 2010 voter-approved law in AZ. "It further implies that state laws pertaining to medical marijuana use can co-exist with federal law without conflict.”
Sheriff Deputies say returning the medical marijuana would violate federal law. "It doesn't resolve the fact that people shouldn't be forced to do things that are otherwise illegal under our state and/or federal law,” said Yuma County Attorney Jon Smith.
Deputy Yuma County Attorney Edward Feheley makes a similar argument in in trying to get relief from the Arizona Court of Appeals.
"The sheriff is prohibited from delivering marijuana to a person he knows has no right to possess marijuana -- even for medical purposes,” Feheley wrote, pointing out the federal law says there is no legitimate medical use for marijuana.
And the battle over medical marijuana in Arizona continues.
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