By Steve Elliott
The U.S. Department of Justice has abandoned its appeal of a ruling that said federal prosecutors are breaking the law when they go after medical marijuana dispensaries who are in compliance with state law.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer issued the ruling last October, when he said that enforcing an injunction against a state-legal dispensary would violate a spending rider prohibiting the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with state laws allowing medicinal use of cannabis, reports Jacob Sullum at Reason.
Breyer's ruling is left in force by the ruling in the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM) casea, without establishing a circuit-wide precedent. The DOJ's request to abandon the appeal probably came about because it feared the 9th Circuit would agree with Breyer's reading of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which says the DOJ may not used funds to "prevent" states from "implementing" their medical marijuana laws.
The DOJ argued that prosecuting dispensaries, seizing their property, and shutting them down does not prevent implementation of laws which allow them. Judge Breyer rightly ruled that interpretation "defies language and logic."