The lawmakers behind a recent congressional amendment protecting medical marijuana operations in states where the drug is legal strongly rebuked the Department of Justice for trying to continue to crack down on some medical marijuana businesses.The DOJ believes the law only stops it from “impeding the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws,” department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said in a statement, portions of which were previously published in the Los Angeles Times. “Consistent with the Department’s stated enforcement priorities, we don’t expect that the amendment will impact our ability to prosecute private individuals or private entities who are violating the Controlled Substances Act.”But Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.), the co-sponsors of the historic amendment that prohibits the DOJ from using funds to go after state-legal medical marijuana programs, told The Huffington Post that the department is incorrect in its understanding of the law.
“The congressman believes the amendment’s language is perfectly clear and that the DOJ’s self-referential interpretation is emphatically wrong,” said Rohrabacher spokesman Ken Grubs.Farr also had strong words for the DOJ.“The Justice Department’s interpretation of the amendment defies logic,” he said. “No reasonable person thinks prosecuting patients doesn’t interfere with a state’s medical marijuana laws. Lawyers can try to mince words but Congress was clear: Stop going after patients and dispensaries.”Farr also took to Twitter to criticize the DOJ’s view of the law:@billjpiper, @TheJusticeDept lawyers can try to parse words but Congress was clear: Stop wasting funds/resources prosecuting patients!— Congressman Sam Farr (@RepSamFarr) April 2, 2015Although the DOJ has slowed its crackdown of medical marijuana, it continues to target some dispensaries, including multiple shops in the San Francisco Bay Area. In February, the congressmen, along with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), wrote a letter publicly condemning the DOJ for “overstepping its bounds” by trying to shut down the Oakland, California-based Harborside Health Center — widely considered to be the largest and one of the most well-respected medical marijuana dispensaries in the nation. “The Justice Department is ignoring the will of the voters, defying Congress, and breaking the law,” Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement Thursday. “President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder need to rein in this out-of-control agency.”To date, 23 states have …Read More
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