Congress members to DOJ: marijuana raids illegal

By Oscar Pascual |

Federal prosecutors are breaking the law when it comes to raiding and seizing medical marijuana dispensaries, according to two California Congressmen.

In a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Sam Farr questioned the Justice Department’s interpretation of last year’s medical marijuana amendment introduced to the spending bill.

“As the authors of the provision in question, we write to inform you that this interpretation of our amendment is emphatically wrong,” the two lawmakers wrote.

The letter was written in response to statements made by the Justice Department in a recent LA Times article regarding a new law that prevents the department from using funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws.

In the article, DOJ spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said that the department did not not believe the amendment applies to cases against individuals or organizations, but rather, stops the department from “impeding the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws.”

Rohrabacher and Farr say that the Justice Department is achieving quite the opposite.

“In fact,” wrote the Congressmen, “we can imagine few more efficient and effective ways of ‘impeding the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws’ than prosecuting individuals and organizations acting in accordance with those laws.”

“We respectfully insist that you bring your department back into compliance with federal law by ceasing marijuana prosecutions and forfeiture actions against those acting in accordance with state medical laws,” the bipartisan pair added.

Rohrabacher and Farr believe that the congressional intent of the new law should be quite clear, as do many advocates.

“These federal prosecutors have gone rogue, and the attorney general needs to rein them in,” said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement. “Their campaign against medical marijuana is no longer just misguided, it’s also illegal.”

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