As everyone knows, medical marijuana is illegal under federal law because it is listed as a Schedule I drug. While a majority of states and the District the Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, the federal government could theoretically (though not practically) crack down on these states and their residents at any time because of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution essentially states that if Congress creates a law under the enumerated or implied powers afforded to it by the Constitution, that law is supreme to any state or local law. Whether congress has the power to act on in certain area has been subject to much debate and judicial decisions, but for the purposes of this blog post, we understand that congress has the power to regulate the licensing of drugs sold in the U.S.
As our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys can explain, while Congress has the power to make these laws, it is up to the executive branch of the government (President and his administration) to enforce those laws. This means that when congress made marijuana illegal, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other federal law enforcement agencies can make cases and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) can prosecute those offenders. However, while congress was unwilling to remove marijuana from Schedule One, they were willing to stop federal agencies from enforcing the laws in states where it is legal though the use of the Rohrabacher-Farr Act.
The Rohrabacher-Farr Act states that no money provided to the DOJ can be used to prosecute the legal cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession of medical marijuana in states where it is legal under relevant state law. It is important to note that this protection does not extend to the recreational use of marijuana.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said on many occasions that marijuana use is wrong. He has said “good people do not use marijuana” and he has said that marijuana is just as bad as heroin. While many think those opinions are absurd, he has not relented in these positions, though he may have softened ever so slightly during his recent testimony on various issues.
According to a recent news article from Newsweek, sessions has been hard at work to find ways the act does not apply to his enforcement efforts and signals his intention to start the crack down soon. The likely way he plans to get around the act is by having federal agents bust medical marijuana businesses and then find tax laws and banking laws that they are likely not adhering to, because adherence would be illegal, and claim they are not spending any money to prosecute the sale, cultivation, distribution, or possession of medical marijuana in states in which it was legal.
While this is a thinly veiled attempt to usurp the will of Congress, it will likely create some major headaches if he goes through with his plans to go after medical marijuana businesses in California and other states.
Our dedicated marijuana attorneys are committed to fighting vigorously for the rights of collectives, businesses, patients, property owners and others.
The Los Angeles Cannabis Law Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
How Jeff Sessions Plans to End Medical Marijuana Before the Year Is Over, November 24, 2017, By Melina Delkic, Newsweek
More Blog Entries:
Expanding Marijuana Regulations are Creating a State Government Hiring Binge, October 14, 2017, by Cannabis Law Group