California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Sue Federal Government

In response to threats of closing down and confiscating property of medical marijuana dispensaries in California, which I previously blogged about here, Americans for Safe Access sued the federal government. The medical marijuana advocacy group has accused the Attorney General and U.S. Attorneys of fundamentally crossing the line into California's abilities as a state to make and enforce its laws.

The suit claims that the federal government has no right to "coerce and commandeer the police power and legislative and executive functions of the state of California."

Anti-Commandeering Perhaps Medical Marijuana's Only Saving Grace

Americans for Safe Access is not arguing the federal government's ability to pass nationwide anti-marijuana laws, nor its ability to use them. Rather, it challenges the federal government's selective use of "such coercive tactics to commandeer the law-making functions of the state." In other words, California, one of many states that have decriminalized marijuana, cannot be targeted disproportionately compared with other states similarly situated, or else the action is serving to put a choke hold on the state's ability to pass laws.

In addition to the recent threats, the suit claims that the federal government has attempted to access patient information, encouraged the arrest of users, encouraged making all marijuana use criminal, and prior to being enjoined from doing so, it has even threatened criminal prosecution and revocation of documents needed to receive reimbursement from federal medical insurance programs for any doctor who recommended medical marijuana use to a patient.

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