In a hugely important decision, a federal court in California has ruled that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) interpretation of a federal medical cannabis provision which was included in last year’s national spending bill “defies language and logic”. The court stated that the DEA’s recent raids on dispensaries in California “tortures the plain meaning of the statute” and is “at odds with fundamental notions of the rule of law.”
Last year a federal spending bill – which was passed into law – included a Rohrabacher-Farr amendment that prohibits the Justice Department from using federal funds to “prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
Despite the relatively clear-cut nature of this provision, the DEA – which is a branch of the Justice Department – has refused to properly acknowledge the new law, saying that in their interpretation of the law it doesn’t prevent them from raiding dispensaries.
Now, Judge Charles Breyer of the U.S. district court in northern California has ruled that the DEA’s interpretation is completely wrong, and that the amendment does prevent them from raiding dispensaries which are following state law.
“This is a big win for medical marijuana patients and their providers,” sais Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project, “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.”
Neither the Justice Department nor the DEA have responded to a request for comment.