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New rule prohibits prosecution for medical marijuana cases in states where drug is legal

Marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act at the federal level, but 25 American states and the District of Columbia have approved comprehensive programs related to medical cannabis. Now, a new rule bans prosecution in medical marijuana cases in states that have approved its use. However, the West Coast federal appeal does not apply to recreational and personal use of the drug.

As per the ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is also applicable in nine western states, the Justice Department cannot utilize the federal fund to prosecute people or entities for medical marijuana in states that have approved medical use of the drug, even if they contradict the federal drug laws.

Federal prosecution prevents states from putting marijuana law into action

The federal law prohibits the possession and use of marijuana. This has been a major cause of concern for millions of patients, marijuana cultivators and dispensary owners for the fear of getting caught by federal officials. But the new ruling passed by the federal court in San Francisco withholds lawmakers to use taxpayers’ money for the litigation of people who are compliant with the state marijuana laws.

To benefit from the new rule, 10 defendants from California and Washington who were incarcerated for various conspiracy charges and massive hauls, sought for the dismissal of their federal charges. In response to this, the court gave the verdict in August 2016, according to which, charges against the defendants would be reconsidered. Moreover, it has urged the lower courts to find out whether the defendants violated the state laws or fully complied with them.

“It makes it more difficult for Department of Justice, and practically you’d think they wouldn’t want to spend the time or the resources on these prosecutions,” said Charles Sanford Smith, a New York attorney who handles medical marijuana cases.

While the Obama administration recently advocated prosecution of people and entities suspected for marijuana charges, the court dismissed the argument by 3-0 ruling, stating that this would prohibit the Justice Department to implement laws in states that approve the cultivation, use, possession and distribution of medical marijuana. However, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain said that the new ruling will offer protection to only those who abide by the state laws, which implies that the federal government can still prosecute the defendants.

Federal restrictions on medical marijuana slowly losing ground

With the legalization of marijuana in several states, the federal restrictions on medical marijuana are slowly losing ground. However, the federal government still continues to raid marijuana dispensaries and prosecute those who deal with the drug across the country. Recently, the Justice Department failed to shut the largest marijuana dispensary, Harborside Health Center, despite a four-year legal fight.

The marijuana market in America has garnered revenue of more than $5 billion through sales in 2015 and the amount is expected to increase, say experts.

California is now looking forward to the passage of a new legislation in November that will also legalize the use of recreational marijuana among the adults of the state.

Seeking professional help

An initial habit of abuse of any substance, such as marijuana, cocaine or alcohol, results in dependence. Studies have linked the use of drug such as marijuana to possible disorders like gene mutations. An overdose of anything can be bad, especially, when one is not sure about the adverse effects resulting from the substance abuse.

If you or your loved one is addicted and is looking for help, contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline for more information on drug addiction rehabilitation centers available in your vicinity. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online for further advice on addiction treatment centers in the U.S.

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