NORML’s lawsuit against the Obama administration, filed earlier this month, was dismissed yesterday. Plaintiffs in the case sought a temporary restraining order barring the Justice Department from taking further action against state-authorized patients and their providers.
In the end, federal Schedule I classification barred this lawsuit from gaining any ground. As explained by the court (not for the first time), Schedule I prohibits medical use sanctioned under state law (see Court Explains The Problem With NORML’s Argument, Dismisses Medical Marijuana Lawsuit Against Obama Administration.
Follow WeedPress on Facebook for more on this story. For now, here’s a full breakdown of yesterday’s ruling, with excerpts from the court ruling (described in layman’s terms as best as I could) for all six claims.
First Claim: Judicial Estoppel
“According to Plaintiffs, the Government “entered a stipulation [in Santa Cruz] predicated on an announced change in policy by the new administration and promised to abide by this new policy enunciated in the Medical Marijuana Guidance” such that “users and dispensers of medical marijuana operating in accordance with their state laws would no longer be prosecuted by the federal government under the CSA.” Pls.’ Am. Mem. at 11, 13 (emphasis added).
The Government “promised” no such thing… filed in Santa Cruz in the event the Government declined to follow the guidance set forth in the Ogden memo.”
The Government made a deal to not prosecute a medical marijuana cooperative in WAMM et al v. Eric Holder et al…but put a “gotcha” in there saying that the Government retained the right to prosecute that same case in the future if it so chose. NORML ignored the “gotcha,” and had their argument dismissed as a result.
Second Claim: Equitable Estoppel
“Estoppel by entrapment is a defense in criminal actions wherein a government official or agent leads a defendant into criminal conduct by affirmatively misrepresenting what is legal.
[N]othing in the Ogden memo affirmatively informs medical marijuana growers and distributors that their conduct is legal. To the contrary, …As such, Plaintiffs are hard pressed to claim that it was reasonable to rely on a memorandum that was not even addressed to them — and
Obama’s 2009 Ogden memo, which tricked (some) people into believing that medical marijuana users were safe from federal interference, never provided any protection. The federal government never promised you jack.
Third Claim: Due Process
“Here, Plaintiffs describe the fundamental rights at issue as the “rights to bodily
integrity that may not be interfered with by the federal government” and “to consult with
their doctors about their bodies and health.” As in Raich II, Plaintiffs’ purported fundamental right conspicuously omits any reference to “marijuana.”
…Finally—and —it is difficult to reconcile the purported existence of a fundamental right to use marijuana for medical reasons with Congress’ pronouncement that “for purposes of the [CSA], marijuana has no currently accepted medical use at all.” Oakland Cannabis, 532 U.S. at 491; see also 21 U.S.C. § 812(b)(1) (classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no approved medical or other use).
Marijuana is a schedule I drug federally. Until that is addressed, lawsuits like the one NORML just made are a waste of time. Focus on Schedule I, and how to get it removed.
Fourth claim: Tenth Amendment
“This claim is from the Tenth Amendment claim which the Ninth Circuit considered and rejected in Raich II. In a footnote, Pls.’ Am. Mem. at 25 n.24. Their attempt to do so is as this clearly was a holding of the court—which is binding on this Court.
The court took great offense to NORML’s characterization of the court’s prior holding in Raich v. Gonzales, 500 F.3d 850 (9th Cir. 2007). NORML categorized the binding opinion as “dicta,” or “unimportant, irrelevant opinion.”
In response, the court categorized NORML’s tenth amendment claim as “entirely specious,” meaning “attractively deceptive,” and refuted their argument by saying “The exact opposite of what you claim is true.”
Fifth Claim: Equal Protection
“Plaintiffs’ fifth claim alleges that the actions threatened by Defendants in the Haag letters violate their right to equal protection. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 44-47. Specifically, they complain that Defendants are discriminating against “medical cannabis patients in
California without a rational basis” because they (1) allow patients in the federal
government’s IND program to receive medical marijuana and (2) have permitted patients
in Colorado access to medical marijuana through state-licensed distributors…
“Unlike Plaintiffs, the IND participants have committed no crime because 21 U.S.C. § 823(f); Oakland Cannabis, 532 U.S. at 490 (noting that the CSA contains “but one express exception, and it is available . . . for Government-approved research projects.”). Hence, IND participants are not “similarly situated” because, unlike Plaintiffs, their use of marijuana is expressly permitted by the CSA. See United States v. Wilson, 639 F.2d 500, 503 (9th Cir. 1981)…
“[T]he mere fact that Defendants have sent letters threatening legal action
under the CSA to persons in California, as opposed to Colorado, does not give rise to an
inference of improper motive. See Futernick v. Sumpter Township, 78 F.3d 1051, 1056
(6th Cir. 1996) (“There is no right under the Constitution to have a law go unenforced
against you, even if you are the first person against whom it is enforced, and even if you think (or can prove) you are not as culpable as some others who have gone unpunished.
The law does not need to be enforced everywhere to be legitimately enforced
somewhere[.]”), overruled on other grounds by Village of Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S.
It’s the Controlled Substances Act, stupid. IND Patients are authorized under the CSA. State patients are not. Just because your neighbor isn’t arrested for smoking pot doesn’t mean you won’t be arrested; if you’re both violating federal law, tough luck.
Sixth claim: Commerce Clause
“In their final claim for relief, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants’ attempt to regulate the intrastate medical marijuana business violates the Commerce Clause. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 48-52. This claim was categorically rejected by the Supreme Court in Raich I, which held that Congress has a rational basis to regulate the purely intrastate manufacture and possession of marijuana. 545 U.S. at 22. For their part, Plaintiffs “acknowledge” the “binding precedent” of Raich I, but insist that they find it “difficult to imagine that marijuana grown only in California, pursuant to California State law, and distributed only within California, only to California residents holding state-issued cards, and only for medical purposes” could be subject to federal regulation under the Commerce Clause. Id. ¶ 51. Irrespective of Plaintiffs’ views on Raich I, this Court is bound by the Supreme Court decision.”
Commerce Clause in Raich was decided and we don’t want to hear it again.
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See the 27-page ruling dismissing the case at IowaMedicalMarijuana.Org.