Friday, June 17, 2011

A Humble Word of Praise

I don’t know Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director Will Humble.  I have never met him, I don’t know his politics, or anything about him other than what I have learned from viewing videos on his website, reading news reports about him, and following his blog posts on the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).

He’s catching a lot of heat these days.  He’s a defendant now in two lawsuits.  From my perusal of various medical marijuana advocacy websites (to which I won’t link because the content is such a mixed bag of propriety levels), Director Humble is getting tagged with the hypocrite label along with Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne.  The common outcry on those sites is that all three state officials are interfering with the will of the voters, to whose mandate they usually trumpet their loyalty.

Director Humble did oppose Proposition 203.  But he seems genuinely wounded by the hypocrite allegation.  In a June 14 blog post, he protested that ADHS “worked very hard to implement the law.”  From the vantage point of this observer, that hard work is evident.

The AMMA was drafted to ensure against foot-dragging by ADHS in its implementation duties, setting strict deadlines for rulemaking and action on applications from Qualified Patients, Designated Caregivers and Dispensaries.  Director Humble met those deadlines, and produced a comprehensive set of rules that appeared to strike a balance appropriate to the spirit of the AMMA.

Humble also was acting on legal advice from Attorney General Horne in shutting down the dispensary application process.  A director of a state agency can’t just ignore the advice he gets from the top lawyer for the state.  One publication even claimed Horne admitted that he “directed” Humble to start denying dispensary applications.
Director Humble strikes me as an honorable and conscientious public servant who faithfully tried to implement the will of the voters.  Until he was ordered to stop.  Whatever your stance on medical marijuana, Director Humble deserves your respect.

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