Congress took an unprecedented step on December 12th, 2014 to help protect medical cannabis patients in states with medical programs already in place. Passing both houses of Congress, an omnibus spending bill had an amendment introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (CA-R) that would prohibit the Department of Justice (DOJ) from interfering in the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.
Patient advocates argue, with concurrence from law enforcement, that this historic measure will dramatically impact DOJ enforcement, including ending federal medical marijuana raids, arrests, criminal prosecutions, and civil asset forfeiture lawsuits, as well as providing prisoners with a way to petition for their release.
For the past three years, US Attorneys have threatened elected officials, property owners, and dispensary operators with legal action in more than half of the states that adopted medical marijuana laws. Threats made by the DOJ against lawmakers have both suspended and completely stopped implementation in at least six medical marijuana states. US Attorneys sent letters threatening criminal prosecution and property seizure to hundreds of landlords in California and Colorado, resulting in the closure of more than 600 lawful medical marijuana businesses.
"This is truly a long-fought victory for medical marijuana patients who have lived in fear of being caught in the crossfire of conflicting state and federal laws for nearly two decades," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). "But this is also a victory for taxpayers because of the hundreds of millions of dollars saved on unnecessary and harmful enforcement." According to a report issued last year by ASA, the Obama Administration has spent nearly $80 million annually on medical marijuana enforcement, more than $200,000 per day.
Please send a thank you to your Members of Congress for passing this historic measure and effectively calling a ceasefire on the federal government for medical cannabis!