A federal judge in San Francisco has blocked the prosecution of two marijuana growers in Northern California, citing a Congressional prohibition on the Justice Department interfering with medical marijuana laws of the states.
In 2014, the two defendants pleaded guilty to marijuana possession and cultivation on Humboldt County farm. Each were facing down the possibility of a three-year prison term, per federal sentencing guidelines. However, a U.S. District Judge has suspended any further proceedings in the case, stating prosecutors were prohibited by Congressional restrictions imposed three years ago – and has renewed every year thereafter.
The restrictions were implemented as part of an amendment that was sponsored by two California representatives – one a Republican, one a Democrat. The rule does not allow the U.S. Justice Department to spend money in a way that would interfere with any state’s medical marijuana laws. In 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in U.S. v. McIntosh issued a ruling that prohibited any federal prosecution of individuals who are in compliance with medical marijuana law in a given state – even though federal statute prohibits use or possession of the drug, which it considers a Schedule I narcotic. Continue reading