In 2014 Congress passed a bipartisan amendment that was added to the Justice Department’s budget. sponsored by Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Democratic congressman Sam Farr, the amendment prohibits the Department of Justice from spending money that would interfere with the implementation of a state’s medical marijuana law.
The courts are now using this amendment to prohibit and bar federal criminal prosecutions where it is found that the defendants are in complete compliance with the state’s medical marijuana laws.
In one case, defendants Anthony Pisarski and Sonny Moore actually pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess and grow marijuana on a farm in Humboldt County, California and were facing a Three-year sentence under federal guidelines. Under the state’s guidelines, they strictly complied with all of the relevant conditions imposed under California law. Using the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, Judge Richard Seeborg halted and suspended further proceedings against the two stating that federal prosecution was barred. The defendants were freed on bail and are seeking to withdraw their guilty pleas.
This is quite significant.
In Washington state, convictions of the “Kettle Falls Five” may be overturned because prosecutors finally admitted and acknowledged that they ‘shouldn’t have spent money on their trial’ in violation of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. A husband and wife, their son and his wife and a family friend were charged with growing, trafficking and some firearms charges by the federal government. The five contended that that the marijuana plants were permitted by state law and that the guns were used for hunting. Their convictions may soon be erased thanks to Rohrabacher-Farr.
This shows an incredible shift in the law that limits the federal government in its ability to enforce medical marijuana laws while giving defense lawyers the ability and right to actually stop a criminal prosecution.
This is all dependent however on the whether the amendment clears the Senate Subcommittees and gets renewed and whether Attorney General Sessions gets the memo.
By VEG, PayQwick