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Court Case Highlights Need For Continued Federal Protections

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director August 17, 2017

    3410000930_95fc2866fa_zLast week, a US District Court blocked federal prosecutors from continuing a case against a medical marijuana cultivation company as a result of the current, albeit limited, congressional protections from the Department of Justice.

    LA Weekly reported:

    Humboldt County growers Anthony Pisarski and Sonny Moore had already pleaded guilty to federal allegations (conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute) but sought an evidentiary hearing based on legislation, first enacted in 2014, that prohibits the U.S. Department of Justice from cracking down on cannabis suspects who are otherwise following their state laws. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment is a budget rider, co-authored by SoCal U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, that prevents enforcement and prosecution in medical marijuana states by stripping funding for such endeavors.

    U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg on Tuesday stayed the prosecution, so the case is closed unless the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment expires and fails to be re-enacted and federal prosecutors want to resume their case. The defendants’ Beverly Hills attorney, Ronald Richards, says: “This is the first time in my 23-year career I’ve had a case stopped because of an appropriations rider.

    “What the court did in this case may be used as a blueprint for other cases,” he says. “It opens the door for people not to get scared.”

    In response to this verdict, California NORML Executive Director Dale Gieringer said, “It’s significant that a federal court ruled that people targeted by feds and in compliance with California’s medical marijuana laws ruled in the defendants’ favor.”

    The Judge’s verdict was predicated on a previous ruling, United States v. McIntosh, a Ninth Circuit decision last year that upheld a medical marijuana defense for those facing federal prosecution in lawful medical states.

    “This is the first case I’m aware of where McIntosh was cited and used to full effect,” continued Gieringer.

    On July 27, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) successfully offered and passed the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment in the Senate Appropriations Committee to maintain this protection for lawful medical marijuana programs from the Department of Justice.

    You can send a message to your Representative to support this language in the House by clicking HERE. 

     

    11 Responses to “Court Case Highlights Need For Continued Federal Protections”

    1. Julian says:

      It took me a while to get comfortable spelling “Rohrabacher-Blumenhauer” but it’s either that or something Trump can spell in a tweet.

      BTW, thanks Trump for running off the CEO of Merck with your NAZI rants so we can counter Big Pharma’s policies in Texas where Merck is opening a new compound in Austin.

      And thanks again Trump for not hiring new Judges just so you can break immigration policy hiring fresh, unneeded border patrol recruits to get bribed by cartels within the DOJ… because you also failed to hire new Federal judges in time to stop the judicial progress of marijuana legalization ya NAZI twit.

      I agree with TYT; Trump doesnt have 18 months left;

      http://youtu.be/ScgVbT_fry0

      • dave says:

        You sound like the other left wing nut cases that are causing riots and claiming everyone is racist. Get your brain fixed, you need cannabis.
        If you don’t like America, pack your bags and get out of my country.
        If you want to bitch about a president, OBAMA is the one that failed, he lied , but you probably still believe the ‘yes we can’ crap. Furthermore, You should be dam glad Hitllary did not get elected, we would at WAR right now.

        • Julian says:

          @Dave:
          “…we would at war right now…”
          Yes, Dave, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I couldn’t because I have an evidence-based education, even if the truth offends me and I understand proper syntax and political context. The truth is an offense but not a sin.

        • Sean says:

          @Dave: unless you have pre-Columbian ancestors in this hemisphere, who the hell are are you to tell anyone to leave? Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry? And all your other stuff is so willfully ignorant, that I won’t even waste my time refuting your idiotic comments one by one. You as a Trump supporter is responsible for Sessions and his dangerous reefer madness. That makes you an enemy of cannabis freedom. Pure and simple!

      • Matthew says:

        Hey, so far, so very good, with President Trump: if he keeps up these basic measures, as they pertain to us – it’ll be 1000X better than how Obama stood down Biden; making the bad guys (Sessions et al) come around to our side is priceless

    2. Julian says:

      Now that I got that rant out of the way…

      While the Presidency implodes and Congress scrambles to keep their distance from the finasteride-ridden shrapnel, our neglected Federal courts may be our last bastion of liberty in whats left of our Republic.

      We have clearly reached a tipping point in the Judicial system in regards to marijuana policy. The most notable transitions have been protecting the rights of employees who consume marijuana off the job site for medical conditions… verdicts reached with impunity. Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Marketing means marijuana patients in states with legal mmj can now sue their employers with damage$ if they can prove they were fired for off the job marijuana consumption. Thats a big deal, because Massachussetts, where this case was tried, legalized through voter initiative, not legislatively initiated law. But the Federal judges still referred to the voter-initiated language to award the plaintiff in this case. Was it because the Mass. legislature amended the law in attempt to delay its enactment? Was that considered legislative evidence for Judicial review? Apparently so.

      Then theres the case in Illinois protecting search and seizured for courriers. This is a big deal for California that may have to rely on courriers to get around the Feds as Cali implements legalization next year and we continue the resistance under a hostile administration and voter-caging legislatures.

    3. Julian says:

      What remains to be seen is how Gorsuch will vote on marijuana reform. Washington, et al v. Sessions, DEA, et al. has some great momentum that will pivot on the stolen Justice’s seat.

      Republicans in Texas who are against legalization are counting on the Supreme Court to rule against three Federal judges in San Antonio who recently determined that two major districts in Texas need to be redrawn. If they fail, judges get to draw the maps for Chorpus Christi (in better favor than the Repulican state legislature would) stating that minorities were discriminated by the gerrymandering since Republicans took control in 2010. Republican Rep. William Hurd’s district barely passed the chopping block, but could be drug back into the case. His race is so tight he was answering positively for veterans access to marijuana at a recent town hall in El Paso.

      Now what does that tell us about the connection between voter suppression, gerrymandering and marijuana law reform?

    4. Julian says:

      Will weaponized racism in the CSAct be called out in the Washington et al v Sessions, DEA et al case?

      The ACLU recently decided not to defend a white nationalist who was canceled to speak at A&M citing that “weaponized” protesting does not constitute as “free speech.”

      Does this defense apply to Roger Stone and the LA Cannabis Expo?

      If racially disproportionate incarceration for possession of non lethal marijuana is not a weapon and violation of the 5th amendment under self-incrimination then what is a weapon?

      Even using violent racist epithets for political gain is becoming an attack on free speech in the marijuana community:

      https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/trump-comments-spark-boycott-of-la-cannabis-expo?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=B2C%20NEWSLETTER%202017-08-19

      Boycotting the Cannabis Expo in LA because two-faced Roger Stone is a keynote speaker is commendable, but it should not be done with the ultimatum that “unless he is removed from the Expo,” …that is… unless we can provide evidence that his speech is weaponized.

      Which begs the question, again, what is a weapon?

      Is it only a bat with some nails in it like Charlie uses on rats in Always Sunny?

      Is a weapon fascist verbal abuse?

      (Continued)…

    5. Julian says:

      Webster has two definitions of “weapon”:

      :1. something (such as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy
      :2. a means of contending against another

      The first definition would stretch the voice and choice of words to qualify as a weapon, although such a stretch is conceivable. Words matter. In court, the definition of a weapon is who has the better lawyer that can either provide evidence of damages or theaten more damage than the award is worth.

      The second definition of a weapon places Roger Stone and the entire CSAct squarely into the category of guilty-as-charged. Because what else are bigoted hedge-fund billionaires like the Mercers or voter-suppressing Koch-bought politicians like Kris Kobach all about if not to profit off of all of us contending against one another? What about vulture capitalist like Paul Singer or John Paulsen who sign themselves as sole beneficiaries to the collapse of our entire economy? Is the insurance itself not a weapon?

      Now tie the same question back into marijuana policy, and tell me how the CSAct and marijuana prohibition is not a weapon not only to the minorities disproportionately targeted by discriminatory enforcement, but as a weapon to all races that are overprescribed lethal but legal opiates while nonviolent whole-plant marijuana remains in schedule 1?

      But Roger Stone is advocating legalization of marijuana. As long as he doesn’t take his shirt off and show us his tattoo of Nixon on his back how is he weaponizing his hate speech? The answer is in the second definition of a “weapon.” Stone’s “means of contention” is as follows:

      (Next post)

    6. Julian says:

      Racism is always about the acquisition of a minority’s property which inherently advocates for biased civil asset forfeitures …which a marijuana legalization advocate by definition must ALWAYS oppose. Even the etymology of the word “marijuana” reveals a racial epithet that we have had to embrace as a reminder of the discrimination of minorities who are currently being dispositioned from owning legal marijuana dispensaries. The unjust, racially bias acquisition of property without due process for the alleged possession of nonviolent marijuana is in itself an act of violence. As a result, racist propaganda is not only the anithesis of effective marijuana legalization policy; racist speech is a weapon that cannot be given the tolerance of a keynote speaker… or a Commander in Chief.

      We are all prejiduced. We all have limits to our understanding and perception of one another. We can’t stop fully from being prejiduced;

      However, we can reduce our ignorance from which prohibition relies through diligent research, contextual education and sometimes just by smoking a joint with people who may not appear to share our views and discovering the common denominator in our humanity whereby we can coexist on our shared planet. (We only get one planet. There’s +7 billion of us. Spark it up. Math is the only non bias subject we can agree on).

    7. Julian says:

      And with this last note on free speech, (my 7th post on this single blog… sorry Justin… ), I would like to thank NORML for allowing me the space to express my views, learn and excercise my marijuana activism on the ACT tab.

      I spoke about correcting ourselves when our words injure others. And Lord knows over the years Ive said some un-self-edited, offensive $#!+ on this blog. Heck, I recently wrote that Ted Cruz looks like a vantriliquist dummy fucked a used car salesman! And I would just like to take this opportunity to apologize to used car salesmen and saleswomen everywhere. I was wrong, I stepped over the line, and I apologize. ;-

      See? It’s not that hard! Who knows? Perhaps those who voted for Trump will apologize before he finishes reversing the Cole memos, takes his emoluments and resigns in disgrace while declaring a fake “win” before Mueller nails him with the Grand Jury? (I know, I digress; I’m wrapping it up…)

      The irony of censuring weaponized speech is free speech is the best weapon we have to change marijuana policy. The place that determines the real damages or what words are a “weapon” is called Federal court. Legal definitions of weaponized speech will always have to evolve with the times. But in this case I think Roger Stone and the LA Expo getting a boycott is just as appropriate as business leaders boycotting Trump. An Expo is not a protest where we can drown out the Nazis like Boston. We need to focus on policy, regulations and strategy. Stone is a divisive, Koch-sucking distruption and has no place injecting his racist brand into the marijuana movement.

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