Medical marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania has taken great strides in recent months. Following a plan set forth by Governor Wolf, cultivators and dispensaries should begin legally operating within the state towards the end of 2017 or early 2018. But opposition continues to come from the federal government, which has yet to legalize medical marijuana, recognize its benefits, and even still calls it a Schedule 1 drug as dangerous as heroin, ecstasy, and bath salts.
People interested in the medical marijuana business in Pennsylvania have consistently voiced their concerns of federal prosecution. Through efforts by people like Attorney Andrew Sacks and groups like the American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH), the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania State Bar Associations have begun deliberating the legalities of a case that involved the violation of federal laws but no state laws. The answer is not yet clear but there is hope from 3,000 miles away.
California Court Could Change Everything
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently concluded that a person who adhered to California’s laws regarding medical marijuana could not be prosecuted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for apparent violations of federal law. The case, United States v. McIntosh, several defendants were running medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation sites throughout California and did so according to all aspects of the state law. The DOJ arrested and charged them for violating the Controlled Substances Act but the seated Judges prevented them from further prosecution.
The ruling is not the end-all, be-all solution to the problems legitimate marijuana growers face on a daily basis, as it only applies, currently, to California. Judge O’Scannlain, one of the Judges who made the decision, stated that Congress could make efforts to overturn or undermine the ruling in due time. If it does hold up, however, the ruling could be adopted by other states, which has caught the attention of legislators and lawmakers in Pennsylvania. Being able to prevent the federal government from interfering with a state’s own right to control medical marijuana research, growth, distribution, and use would be a huge victory.
If you would like to learn more about the ruling in California, PennLive posted an article here on their website. For help with marijuana law here in Pennsylvania, you can contact Sacks Weston LLC. Our Pennsylvania hemp law attorneys have been working vigilantly to help reform the state’s restrictive and dated marijuana laws.