This ruling is a definitive win for medical marijuana business that are operating consistent with state regulations. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to last year’s spending bill lists the states that have medical marijuana laws, and mandates that the DOJ is barred from using federal funds to “prevent such State from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
“The DEA, however, didn’t see it that way. In a leaked memo, the Justice Department contended that the amendment only prevents actions against actual states — not against the individuals or businesses or business that actually carry out marijuana laws. In their interpretation, the bill still allowed them to pursue criminal and civil actions against medical marijuana businesses and the patients who patronized them.”
“The ruling could discourage the Department of Justice from creative interpretations of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment going forward, which should let medical marijuana businesses and their patients in 23 states breathe a sigh of relief.”
The Washington Post
What does this mean for you?
I view this as a big step forward for state-legal medical cannabis businesses. Note that the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment only covers “medical marijuana” and not recreational marijuana. However, striking down any creative interpretations of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment will pave the way for the new bills introduced by the Senate and House that account for recreational marijuana. While not yet law, these bills are a positive step towards a regulated cannabis market.