BREAKING: Appeals court bans feds from prosecuting medical pot cases
SAN FRANCISCO >> A federal appeals court has banned the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana cases that comply with state laws.
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the DOJ to show that 10 pending cases in California and Washington violated medical marijuana laws in those states before continuing with federal criminal prosecutions.
Even though marijuana remains illegal under federal law, Congress last year barred the DOJ from spending money to prevent states from regulating marijuana’s medical use or sale.
Federal prosecutors argued unsuccessfully that Congress meant only to bar the DOJ from taking legal action against states with medical marijuana laws. The DOJ argued it could still prosecute individuals who violate federal marijuana laws.
The court ordered trial judges to conduct hearings to determine if prosecutions can continue.