Judge Blocks Feds From Pursuing California Pot Growers

On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court blocked federal prosecutors from moving forward with a criminal conspiracy case against two cannabis cultivators in Humboldt County because, even though medical marijuana is illegal under federal statute, the pair was found to be compliant with California law. Needless to say, the implications from this case could be huge.

In making his decision, Judge Richard Seeborg cited United States v. McIntosh, which barred the Department of Justice from prosecuting certain marijuana growers. At the heart of both decisions is a 2014 rider to a congressional spending bill, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prohibits the DOJ from using funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws.

"This is the first time in my 23-year career I've had a case stopped because of an appropriations rider,” said the defendants’ attorney Ronald Richards. "What the court did in this case may be used as a blueprint for other cases. It opens the door for people not to get scared."

NORML’s California director Dale Gieringer similarly said it was the first case he is aware of in which McIntosh “was cited and used to full effect."

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been vehemently opposed to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment from the get-go. It’s easy to see why.

LA Weekly has more on Tuesday’s ruling.