The life of a pot grower is not an easy one, particularly when it comes to the law. While it may be legal in certain states in America to grow marijuana, it's still illegal at the federal level and people can be charged with a crime despite engaging in what's technically a legal activity. But a new case in California could change that.
A U.S. district court judge blocked a case, known as United States v. Pisarski et. al., brought by the federal government on two marijuana growers in Northern California. The defendants had their home raided by authorities in 2012, and more than 300 pot plants were found on the premises. They had initially pled guilty to their crimes, but appealed their charges based on a 2014 law that prevents the federal government from targeting cannabis growers if their activities are legal within state laws.
The judge also cited a case from last year, United States v. McIntosh, that allowed cannabis growers to use their states' medical marijuana laws as a defense against federal prosecution. Experts say this is a major milestone in medical marijuana court cases.
"It's significant that a federal court ruled that people targeted by feds and in compliance with California's medical marijuana laws ruled in the defendants' favor," Dale Gieringer, director of the California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told LA Weekly. "This is the first case I'm aware of where McIntosh was cited and used to full effect."
As Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to promise a crackdown on marijuana dispensaries in states with legal cannabis, cases like United States v. Pisarski et. al. and United States v. McIntosh will provide possible targets with a defense from intrusive actions by the Department of Justice.