A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of California on Feb. 28 dismissed a lawsuit challenging the US Attorney's authority to prosecute medical marijuana providers in the state. The suit was filed in November by Sacramento's El Camino Wellness Center Collective, after the US Attorney's Office sent a letter to the collective and its landlord warning that its activities violated federal law.
The plaintiffs relied on a 2009 Justice Department memorandum, referred to as the Ogden Memo, that said "certain marijuana users and providers would be a lower priority for prosecution than others," specifically citing "individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana." Judge Garland Burrell ruled that the memorandum was not legally enforceable, and that the government's enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act "is not inconsistent with the enforcement policy stated in the Ogden Memo." In a statement, El Camino Wellness Center said it was disappointed with the court's decision and they plan to appeal. This lawsuit is one of four similar suits filed in California after US Attorneys in the state announced their intent to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries. (Courthouse News Service, March 2; Jurist, March 1; Redding Searchlight, Feb. 28)
Photo by the Mad Pothead