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The U.S. Justice Department made clear last week that it won’t back off on prosecuting medical marijuana users despite Congress passing a budget amendment meant to block funding for federal law enforcement activities that “interfere” with state laws that sanction the medicinal use of pot. But the members of Congress who authored the budget amendment say the department has it all wrong.
When the budget rider passed back in December, there was hope that medical marijuana patients facing federal drug charges, such as the Kettle Falls Five,
might see their cases dismissed
. But the feds found enough wiggle room with the language of the rider to continue prosecuting the case
(getting a partial conviction), even though marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes in Washington state.
Last week, a department spokesperson told the LA Times
that the language of the budget amendment still allows for cases against individuals or organizations.
U.S. representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.), responded by telling the Huffington Post, two members of Congress who authored the budget amendment, that the department is misinterpreting their amendment.
“The Justice Department’s interpretation of the amendment defies logic," Farr told the Huffington Post. "No reasonable person thinks prosecuting patients doesn’t interfere with a state’s medical marijuana laws. Lawyers can try to mince words but Congress was clear: Stop going after patients and dispensaries.”
There is bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate
intended to clarify the situation.
Here’s the news elsewhere:
In Oregon, medical dispensaries could start selling recreational pot this summer
Just watch out for “ganja cops.”
The results of a new survey have found that voters in crucial presidential swing states support medical marijuana