Victory! - DOJ Drops Appeal in MAMM Case

April 15, 2016 | Mike Liszewski

On Wednesday, the East Bay Express reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has dropped its appeal against Lynette Shaw in the federal civil action against her which forced the closure of her dispensary, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM). In dropping it's appeal, the DOJ accepts the October 2015 ruling by Judge Charles Breyer that Congress had forbidden the DOJ with interfering MAMM and Shaw unless it could show a violation of state law. Shaw has said that she intends to reopen her dispensary, restoring the access to patients that was cut of by federal interference.

By dropping the appeal, the DOJ has essentially conceded that there was no violation of state law, but also that it recognizes that the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment (aka the Mikulski Amendment) has practical value. When the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment was first signed into law in 2014, it was widely misconstrued by people on both sides of the federal issue. Some were saying the amendment was the end of federal marijuana prohibition, while many in the movement bizarrely sided with the DOJ interpretation that it was symbolic but meaningless. 

While the former were clearly wrong, the latter had failed to make a case against the DOJ interpretation by not considering the legislative intent. ASA was perhaps the first to frame the argument for legislative intent that was ultimately adopted by Judge Breyer, and sent a memo to DOJ within months of passage urging them to accept the clear legislative intent. This week's decision to drop the appeal is evidence they have finally come to terms that Congress has clearly said the DOJ is forbidden from prosecuting against state-legal medical cannabis conduct. 

Of course, the amendment must be renewed on an annual basis. The best way to ultimately fulfill the legislative intent of these amendments is to pass the CARERS Act. Take action today to help pass CARERS!



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