And the beat goes on..

More Federal Meddling with Medical Cannabis

New Raids in California, Patient-Provider Denied Defense

It’s been nine months since the Department of Justice handed down a new policy on medical cannabis, but some federal officials apparently haven’t gotten the memo. In the past two months alone, federal agents raided three medical cannabis dispensing collectives in San Diego, a federal defendant was denied the opportunity to tell the jury in his case that he was operating a medical dispensary in compliance with state law, and the first person to be certified by the Mendocino sheriff to grow cannabis for patients had her farm raided and plants and computers seized by the DEA.

Following President Obama’s campaign promises to end federal interference with state medical cannabis programs and official statements from the White House and Attorney General Holder that those promises would be kept, the attorney general’s office sent a memo to U.S. Attorneys in October 2009 telling them it would be an “inefficient” use of federal resources to prosecute individuals who are in “clear and unambiguous” compliance with state law.

“This pattern of continuing interference with state medical cannabis programs suggests the Obama Administration can’t control the DEA or federal prosecutors,” said Caren Woodson, ASA’s Director of Government Affairs. “How could anyone’s compliance with state law be any clearer or more unambiguous than having certification from the sheriff? And then preventing them from presenting evidence about their medical conditions or state law only guarantees their conviction.”

Joy Greenfield was the first person in Mendocino County to register with the sheriff’s office to cultivate cannabis for patients. Shortly after she received certification last month, which included individual zip-ties to identify the registered plants, DEA agents raided her property, confiscating all her plants and the sheriff’s zip-ties.

James Stacy, a San Diego-area medical cannabis provider raided by the DEA in September 2009, goes to trial in federal court on August 30. The judge in his case ruled last month that Obama Administration’s new policy on medical cannabis would not change what he was permitted to introduce as evidence. Legislation is currently pending in Congress that would change those rules of evidence.

“Despite a new Justice Department policy on medical marijuana enforcement, James Stacy was still denied a defense in federal court,” said Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA), author of HR3939, the Truth in Trials Act, legislation that would allow defendants such as Stacy to use evidence of state law compliance in federal court. “The Truth in Trials Act would correct this aberration of justice and ensure that no one else will needlessly face years in prison without the means to defend themselves.”

Source: ASA Newsletter August 2010