This week a federal appeals court in San Francisco banned the Justice Department from prosecuting cases where medical marijuana patients are not in violation of any state laws.
Congress barred the Justice Department from using funds to prevent individual states from having their own regulations for medical marijuana, according to The Washington Post, Some federal prosecutors argued that actions taken by Congress still allow the DEA and DOJ to prosecute individuals for federal marijuana law violations. That argument was rejected by the court. The court reminded those prosecutors that federal interference with state-regulated medical marijuana programs hinders he state’s ability to enforce their individual regulations.
Marijuana industry attorney Marc Zilversmit said, “This is the beginning of the end of federal prosecutions of state medical marijuana dispensary operators, growers and patients.”
Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain wrote, “If DOJ wishes to continue these prosecutions, Appellants are entitled to evidentiary hearings to determine whether their conduct was completely authorized by state law, by which we mean that they strictly complied with all relevant conditions imposed by state law on the use, distribution, possession, and cultivation of medical marijuana.”
An appeal by federal prosecutors regarding this ruling could occur once the Justice Department reviews the complete language of the decision.
Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon said, “DOJ has been a little slow to pick up on lawmakers’ desire that prosecutors go after organized drug rings and leave alone medicinal pot sellers and users.”