In a huge victory for medical marijuana patients, the Department Of Justice (DOJ) has been ordered by the Ninth-Circuit Court of Appeals to no longer prosecute patients and dispensaries under the Federal Controlled Substance Act, as long as they are in compliance with state medical marijuana laws.
The ruling was based on a law passed in 2014 which prohibits the DOJ from using federal funds to prosecute people in compliance with their state’s laws regarding medical cannabis. The court ruled that the DOJ must show proof that these individuals broke their state’s laws before prosecuting them on a federal level.
Unfortunately, this ruling could change with the next presidential administration, or Congress could vote to reinstate funding to the DOJ in the future. This is still a huge victory for medical marijuana patients and dispensaries who have been unfairly targeted by the feds in the past.
Professor Sam Kamin, who studies cannabis regulation at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law said in a statement to Huffington Post, “It’s an assertion by a court that federal prosecutors cannot enforce the Controlled Substances Act against those in compliance with state medical marijuana provisions. It’s not forever … but it’s a lot more protection than was in place prior to the ruling.”
The Obama administration may try to appeal, but considering that the ruling was unanimous, it’s unlikely that they would win the appeal. The individuals who faced federal charges under the Controlled Substances Act have demanded that their cases be dropped.
This is an important victory for those living in one of the 25 states and DC who have legalized cannabis for medical use. Hopefully this will be the end of the federal government interfering in states’ enforcement of their own laws.
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