The Denver Post reports on the federal court banning prosecution of medical marijuana cases.
Federal court bans prosecutions in medical marijuana victory
The federal agency had to show proof that medical marijuana laws of the states were violated in 10 cases in California and Washington before prosecution could continue, demanded a panel of three judges representing the 9th U.S. Circuit Appeals Court.
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Stop wasting money
Congress has barred the Justice Department from spending money on hindering states from regulating the use and sales of medical cannabis, even though cannabis remains an illegal substance under federal law.
The argument of federal prosecutors that Congress only barred legal action against states, but that individuals could still be prosecuted for violating federal law was rejected. The reaction was that prosecutions were preventing states from effectively implementing their own measures.
Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain wrote if prosecution by the Department of Justice continued, accused parties have the right to evidential hearings that will determine if their conduct followed state law, by which the panel means showing evidence that they strictly complied with all the specific conditions required by various states on the use, possession, cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis.
The option to apply for the 9th Circuit to reconsider the case or to go to the U.S. Supreme Court is still being considered by the federal prosecutors, said spokesperson Peter Carr.
Lawyers representing medical cannabis suppliers agree with marijuana activists that the ruling shows significant support for broad legalization of cannabis. Medical and recreational marijuana is legal in 25 states plus the District of Columbia. Additionally, ten more states will decide on legalization in November.
The beginning of the end
Marc Zilversmit who represents five people operating five stores selling marijuana products in Los Angeles, and nine indoor cultivation site in Los Angeles, and San Francisco said the ruling is the beginning of the end of state medical cannabis growers, dispensaries and patients being prosecuted by federal law.
He and other supporters of medical marijuana said that federal authorities and the Obama administration are still fighting legalization of marijuana. This follows the recent announcement by the Obama administration that marijuana remains a most dangerous drug, but that more research into medical uses of marijuana will be allowed.
The decision was based on a long review by the DEA, and consultation with the Health and Human Services Department, which concluded that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, and no accepted medical use. This means marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
Still frying small fish
Rep. Earl Blumenauer the Democrat from Oregon who was involved in drafting the language barring the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) and the 93 U.S. attorneys across the country from wasting money on prosecution of medical marijuana, said it is clear that the DOJ is slow to understand that lawmakers would prefer prosecutors to go after organized drug syndicates rather than medical cannabis sellers and users.
He further said Congress is becoming more united in accepting that they should not be interfering with states on the medical marijuana issue. “Unfortunately”, he said, “the DEA and 93 U.S. attorneys have people who are still frying small fish.”
Medical marijuana victory
This is great news for medical marijuana and perhaps patients could be left to decide for themselves what is best for them. There is great hope of recovery for many people as medical marijuana has victory. Feel free to leave us your thoughts.