Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery advised the Board of Supervisors this week against issuing permits to medical-marijuana dispensaries on county-controlled lands, fearing a backlash from the federal government.
Although Arizona's medical-marijuana program mostly will be run by the state Health Department in cooperation with cities and towns, Maricopa County officials plan to opt out in reaction to mounting federal pressure on states that have legalized medical pot.
County officials indicated they would heed Montgomery's advice if he drafts a formal legal opinion, which Montgomery said he plans to do in about a week.
Montgomery said he would not prosecute medical-marijuana cases because it is outside his jurisdiction. He said he consulted with the supervisors on the issue in his role as the county's legal adviser.
Last November, voters approved Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which allows qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions to use marijuana. But marijuana is not a federally approved drug.
Arizona is the 15th state to legalize medical pot and to join the ongoing national debate over conflicting state and federal marijuana laws.
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