One of Arizona's most ardent anti-marijuana advocates may end up in a position where he could make even larger impact to prevent marijuana legalization.
Arizona prosecutor Bill Montgomery is one of 11 candidates vying for an Arizona Supreme Court seat after one of the court's judges announced their retirement. A judicial commission will examine the 11 candidates and determine the three people they believe are best suited for the job. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will then choose one of the three people to serve on the Supreme Court, with no input or approval process from the state legislature.
Montgomery has been one of the biggest anti-marijuana politicians in the state. He refused to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the county he served until a panel of state judges forced him to. He's written op-eds asking Congress to not pass laws that would protect states with legalized marijuana. He called a military veteran a "enemy" of the Constitution for saying medical marijuana helped him with his various medical ailments. He even threatened to prosecute a family for giving CBD oil to their son to help reduce his seizures until a court told him that he could not.
Perhaps most alarmingly is Montgomery's involvement in a marijuana case that is being decided by the Arizona Supreme Court. Montgomery prosecuted people in Arizona who used marijuana extracts, arguing that the state law only protected the actual plant forms of cannabis, not extracts. Now the state Supreme Court is deciding whether or not Montgomery's interpretation of the law is correct. That could become more complicated if Montgomery is added to the court.
Besides his anti-marijuana views, Montgomery is also a supporter of harsh police and prosecutorial tactics.
Now, it's possible Montgomery will not be selected as one of the final three candidates, and it's also not clear if Ducey is leaning towards Montgomery if he were one of the finalists. But it's still a frightening possibility for marijuana advocates.