A federal judge in San Francisco dismissed a criminal case last week on the grounds that the federal government is barred, by federal statute, from interfering with state laws allowing medical marijuana.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg came in a case against Anthony Parsarksi and Sonny Moore, both of whom pleaded guilty to federal charges “of conspiring to manufacture and sell marijuana.” Seeborg’s decision to throw out the case was the result of an amendment to an 2014 appropriations bill that prohibited the Department of Justice from using funds to prevent a state “from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
According to the Los Angles Times, Seeborg’s ruling is the first that has recognized the amendment as a impediment to suits revolving around marijuana in medical marijuana states.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who supports the legalization of marijuana, was one of the sponsors of the 2014 amendment. According to the Times, he commented on Seeborg’s ruling, saying, “This is a signal that will hopefully go totally across the country–that federal prosecutors should stop wasting their time and start focusing on real criminals.” He added, “My conservative friends like Jeff [Sessions] need to look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘We don’t like these people smoking marijuana but they have a right to do it because it’s their lives, not the government’s.'”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has yet to respond to Seeborg’s ruling, but notes acquired from a meeting of Sessions’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety show that his confidants are suggesting he maintain the status quo between the federal government and states that have legalized marijuana. According to the Associated Press, the task force, which consists of “prosecutors and federal law enforcement officials,” were less enthusiastic than Sessions about enforcing federal drug laws in states where marijuana enjoys some legal protection.
If Sessions takes their advice, Seeborg’s ruling could prove to be a precedent for many similar rulings to follow.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.