California Congress Members Tell DOJ to Back Off Of Cannabis

A group of California members of Congress are calling for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to finally end enforcement actions on the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries.

U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), and Sam Farr (D-Carmel) last week sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch imploring the DOJ to reconsider further raids and actions on lawfully ran storefronts, according to Rep. Lee’s website.

“We are concerned that the Department of Justice continues to threaten individuals and businesses acting within the scope of state law on the medicinal use of marijuana despite formal guidance on exercising prosecutorial discretion and recent changes to federal law. It is counterproductive and economically prohibitive to continue a path of hostility toward dispensaries,” wrote the Congress members.

Despite an approved 2014 law preventing the Justice Department from using federal funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws, the DOJ in April stated they did not believe the amendment applied 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 replied to the the comment to the Attorney General at the time, Eric Holder.

“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.”

The new letter requests that the DOJ stand down on dispensary raids on the strength of the 2014 law as well as California’s new medical marijuana regulations, which is slated to take effect beginning in 2016.

“As you know, the package of bills signed into law creates an enforceable framework for governing virtually every aspect of the medical cannabis industry — from licensing and taxation to quality control, shipping, packaging, and pesticide standards,” wrote the Congress members.

Read the full text of the letter here.

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