Constitutional Law

Feds can't prosecute medical marijuana defendants complying with state laws, appeals court says

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medical marijuana

The U.S. Justice Department can’t spend money to prosecute people who are strictly complying with state medical marijuana laws, a federal appeals court has ruled.

A ban on such spending contained in a congressional appropriations rider prohibits such prosecutions, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (PDF) on Tuesday in 10 consolidated cases from California and Washington state.

Justice Department prosecutions of individuals strictly complying with the state laws would violate the appropriations clause, the appeals court said.

The court remanded the cases for evidentiary hearings on whether the defendants’ conduct was completely authorized by state law. The case is United States v. McIntosh.

Hat tip to @tomangell and @joshACLU.

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