Federal Court Slams DEA for Harassing Legal MMJ Operations
October 21st, 2015
Policy, Top News
A federal court in California found that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (“DEA”) interpretation of recent medical marijuana bills “defies language and logic”, “tortures the plain meaning of the statute”, and is “at odds with the fundamental notions of the rule of law” in a harshly worded ruling that promises to put the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in its place after years of targeting medical marijuana businesses.
The interpretation in question is the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to last year’s government spending bill, which stated that the Department of Justice is barred from using federal funds to “prevent [states that have legalized medical marijuana] from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” While the language seems straightforward, the interpretation apparently wasn’t clear.
The DEA chose to interpret that language as preventing actions against states, but not individuals or businesses that implement the laws. As a result, the agency felt it within their right to pursue criminal and civil actions against medical marijuana businesses and their patients. DEA agents have even reportedly visited the homes and offices of physicians prescribing medical marijuana in a clear effort to threaten them.
In Massachusetts, physicians that prescribed medical marijuana were visited by DEA agents that told them to sever all ties to marijuana companies or relinquish federal licenses to prescribe certain medications. These kinds of quiet crackdowns have become commonplace, despite the House of Representatives’ and Senate’s measures designed to restrict the DEA from raiding medical marijuana operations in states where it is legal.
A Win for MMJ
The ruling marks a big step forward in discouraging the DEA and DOJ from creative interpretations of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which should reduce the pressure on the medical marijuana industry in states where the drug has been legalized.
Medical marijuana advocates have cheered the federal court’s decision as the last nail in the coffin of the DEA’s targeting of California’s medical marijuana program, while nationwide advocates hope that the ruling will be just as effective for them. In addition, the amendment’s congressional sponsors expressed delight that the matter was finally put to rest and the original intent of the amendment would be implemented.
Dispensaries that have been forced to close in California are now preparing to reopen their doors to medical marijuana patients, while the rest of the industry will sleep a little more soundly at night knowing that they won’t be unjustly targeted by the DEA.
At Odds with Society
The DEA and DOJ viewpoints on marijuana are at odds with the rest of the nation. Increasingly, politicians are voicing support for the legalization of marijuana on a state level, while some have openly talked about federal legalization. Polls have also indicated that more than half of Americans support the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana as a way to reduce crime, raise tax revenue, and cut out the black market from the equation.
In Canada, Justin Trudeau’s win as the new prime minister is expected to result in the section nationwide legalization in the world, following Uruguay’s federal program. The move could further encourage the rest of the world to reevaluate the effectiveness of “The War on Drugs” and ultimately decide to take actions that have thus far proven to be much more effective in states like Colorado and Washington in reducing crime rates and raising tax revenue.
Politicians may be notorious for resisting change, but the legalization title wave continues to gain steam and may become unstoppable over the coming years. With politicians and courts in agreement, the U.S. could soon make a federal move in the right direction.
This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.
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