Article by David Downs, Cannabis Now Magazine
In a major legal decision, a federal appeals court ruled that the United States government’s war on medical cannabis is effectively de-funded.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed a lower court ruling that the Department of Justice cannot spend any funds prosecuting people complying with state-legal medical cannabis laws.
“We therefore conclude that at a minimum [Congressional law] prohibits [the Department of Justice] from spending funds … for the prosecution of individuals who engaged in conduct permitted by the State Medical Marijuana Laws and who fully complied with such laws,” the decision states. It was filed today.
Since California started in 1996, 37 states now have some form of medical cannabis law. The Department of Justice under President Obama has spent hundreds of millions of dollars interfering with state medical marijuana systems, advocates say.
In 2014, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Sam Farr used the power of the purse to end the war on medical weed, defunding federal “interference” in state systems. Since then, U.S. attorneys have sought to narrow the definition of “interference” to allow for continued medical marijuana-related prosecutions. Prosecutors had argued Congressional law only forbids them from intimidating state regulators.
But federal prosecutors were dealt a stunning rebuke from Judge Charles Breyer in a lower court ruling in October. Judge Breyer said Congressional law is clear — no interference.