A Minnesota court’s interpretation of cannabis law could affect how cannabis is policed across the entire United States.
The fuss is over a case in the Appellate Court of Minnesota. In 2015, two former executives of the New York-based medical marijuana business Vireo Health allegedly used a company armored vehicle to traffic cannabis extract from Minnesota to the Empire State, as reported by LoHud.
The ex-execs’ defense is that what they did was totally legal and permitted by state law in both Minnesota and New York. The two states’ medical marijuana programs, the defense contends, allow for interstate transportation of cannabis products between Vireo’s corporate affiliates.
If the judges in Minnesota don’t bite on that defense, it could leave Vireo open to a whole mess of other charges. For instance, it could mean that the licensed medical marijuana extract the company sold in New York could actually be considered illegal controlled substance.
If judges do give the defense their blessing, then it could be interpreted by cannabis businesses as an invitation to transport their product from one legal state to another.
That could still be considered a crime on the federal level, but, you know, so is selling weed in a dispensary. The federal regulation question in cannabis is still largely a matter of attitude. Since former Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew the state-protective Cole Memo in 2017, federal agencies like the DEA can prosecute state-legal cannabis crimes if they feel like it. Fortunately, they just mostly don’t feel like it these days.
Vireo, it’s worth noting, is a major player in New York’s medical marijuana market, and could have a big hand in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed plan or legal recreational cannabis in New York.
Photo via Flickr user WeedPornDaily