Though an amendment was put in place last year saying in no uncertain terms that states should be left the F alone by federal authorities when it comes to running their own medical marijuana programs, it turns out you got to tell the DEA to obey the law more than once before they actually pay attention.
After observing that the Drug Enforcement Administration had defied the “language and logic” of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, a federal court in California lost patience with the government bureau, according to an article in the Washington Post. The ruling was decisive and blatantly critical of the administration, saying it had “torture[d} the plain meaning of the statute” and was “at odds with fundamental notions of the rule of law.”
Rohrabacher-Farr was meant to protect state MMJ programs from federal authorities, saying it was unlawful to “prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
But cowboys at the DEA decided to take a very loose interpretation of the law. A leaked memo from the Justice Department gave the official position that Rohrabacher-Farr only barred the feds from actions against the state itself, not medical marijuana collectives.
The DEA finally got the severe judicial ass-kicking it’s been asking for from U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer. On Monday, Breyer called the DoJ’s skewing of the amendment “counterintuitive and opportunistic.”
The decision is potentially a pretty huge deal for state law-abiding dispensaries across the nation and cannabis advocates have reason to celebrate it. “It’s great to see the judicial branch finally starting to hold the Justice Department accountable for its willful violation of Congress’s intent to end federal interference with state medical marijuana laws,” Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority told the Washington Post.
“This is a big win for medical marijuana patients and their providers,” Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project said in a statement, “and a significant victory in our efforts to end the federal government’s war on marijuana. Federal raids of legitimate medical marijuana businesses aren’t just stupid and wasteful, but also illegal.”
Photo via Flickr user Dank Depot