Judge invokes Rohrabacher-Farr in federal marijuana case

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At a time when the Department of Justice is trying to get Congress to pull the plug on the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, a U.S. District Court recently used the marijuana safeguard in a federal cannabis case.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco told federal prosecutors they couldn’t continue proceedings against two cannabis cultivators in Humboldt County, California, because the growers were protected by the state’s MMJ laws, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The judgment is the “first known ruling of its kind,” according to the newspaper.

The two Northern California growers were looking at three-year prison sentences after pleading guilty in 2014 to federal charges that they conspired to possess and cultivate cannabis, the Chronicle reported.

However, Seeborg ruled that federal prosecutors were forbidden to proceed under Rohrabacher-Farr, which is designed to protect state medical cannabis statutes from DOJ interference. The amendment was also invoked a year ago by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the DOJ can’t use federal funds to prosecute those compliant with state MMJ laws while Rohrabacher-Farr remains in place.

In his ruling, Seeborg said the defendants proved they “strictly complied with all relevant conditions imposed by California law.”