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Sarah Climaco

Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment Blocks Federal Prosecution of California MMJ Producers

A U.S. District Court has blocked federal prosecution of two Humboldt County, California growers charged with conspiracy to manufacture and possess cannabis with intent to distribute, concluding the defendants were in compliance with the state’s medical cannabis laws, LA Weekly reports. Anthony Pisarski and Sonny Moore had previously pleaded guilty to the federal charges.

District Court Judge Richard Seeborg stayed the prosecution due to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment included in the federal budget; however, he said the case could be reopened if the amendment is not included in the passage of this year’s federal budget currently being drafted by lawmakers.

Ronald Richards, the attorney for the duo, indicated the decision was the first time in his 23-year career that he has “had a case stopped because of an appropriations rider.”

“What the court did in this case may be used as a blueprint for other cases,” he said in the report. “It opens the door for people not to get scared.”

Seeborg cited the 2016 U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals United States v. McIntosh case which affirmed a medical cannabis defense for state-approved operators facing federal charges.

“[The defendants’] conduct strictly complied with all relevant conditions imposed by California law on the use, distribution, possession and cultivation of medical marijuana,” Seeborg ruled.

Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML said it was the first case he was aware of that cited McIntosh to its full effect.

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