Although the federal government implied that it had “ended the war against medical marijuana,” in 2014 with the passing of an omnibus spending bill, the true meaning of this three-legged amendment has been swimming for dear life in a cesspool of skewed perspective and dreadful translation, ever since it was signed into law by President Obama.
After months of raids on dispensaries all across the country, the U.S. Department of Justice came forward with a statement in the Los Angeles Times suggesting that, as far as they were concerned, the federal rider only hinders them from “impending the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws,” but in no way protects dispensaries and patients from the occasional shakedown.
Even after Congressmen Farr and Rohrabacher sent a letter to then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking for him to “bring your Department back into compliance with federal law by ceasing marijuana prosecutions and forfeiture actions against those acting in accordance with state medical marijuana laws,” their request was left in a state of impotency.
Nevertheless, the two federal lawmakers have not stopped pounding on the front door of the White House in search for answers, most recently petitioning the Justice Department for an internal investigation into why federal prosecutors continue to impose their wrath against the medical marijuana community.
“We request that you immediately investigate the Department’s expenditure of funds to continue prosecuting these cases, which we believe are in direct violation of the prohibition on such expenditures established by Rohrabacher-Farr,” reads a letter sent to Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
Rohrabacher and Farr’s call for an examination into the DOJ’s misguided practices comes one month before the annual spending bill is set to expire. The two argue that the April report in the LA Times, in which Patrick Rodenbush, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, essentially said that only officials in medical marijuana states were protected from being chastised by the hand of the federal government, is an exaggerated interpretation that has lead to anarchy.
“Mr. Rodenbush’s interpretation is clearly a stretch,” the letter reads. “The implementation of state law is carried out by individuals and businesses as the state authorizes them to do. For DOJ to argue otherwise is a tortuous twisting of the text … and common sense.”
The congressmen continue by arguing that, “any official of the Department who interprets” the scope of this amendment any other way “is doing so knowingly and willfully, without regard for the facts.”
After the signing of last year’s federal spending bill, some marijuana activists hastily published misrepresenting headlines, some of which bamboozled the average citizen into believing that medical marijuana had just been legalized in all 50 states. However, while dispensaries and patients held on to hopes that they would finally be allowed to cultivate, sell, and use medical marijuana without federal interference, this has simply not been the case.
Several highly publicized federal cases have surfaced in the past several months, including the DOJ’s unleashing against the Harborside Health Center and the Kettle Falls Five. Rohrabacher and Farr argue that this is evidence the government is “spending dollars it does not have the legal authority to spend” fighting the war against medical marijuana.
In fact, the latest statistics by Americans for Safe Access suggest that federal drug enforcers are still spending in upwards of $80 million per year in pursuit of medical marijuana, which is a sizeable chunk of change considering Uncle Sam’s supposed hands-off approach to this issue.
U.S. Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office recently acknowledge that they had received Rohrabacher and Farr’s letter, but they have not yet decided whether to pursue an investigation.