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Supreme Court Scores One for Medical Marijuana

Aug 18, 2016 10:49AM ● By Randy Robinson

California Supreme Court, San Francisco (from Flickr)

As reported by TIME, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state’s medical marijuana system on Tuesday.

The ruling concerned 10 separate appeals cases. In each case, the DEA raided a California dispensary and accused the businesses of drug trafficking. The DEA’s reasoning hinged on high plant counts – some of these businesses grew and sold over a thousand plants.

If the DEA had gotten its way, the feds would have seized the dispensary owners’ assets. Any vehicles, bank accounts, homes, etc. owned by these individuals would have been confiscated and auctioned off by the federal government. In addition to forfeitures, the defendants faced jail time, too.

Instead, the Supreme Court ruled against the DEA. The judges based their ruling on a rider attached to 2014’s federal spending bill. That rider says the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) cannot use any funds for prosecuting medical marijuana patients or dispensaries that follow state laws. After the courts looked over the evidence, they determined these businesses were acting in accordance with California law – therefore, the DEA and the DOJ had no jurisdiction in these cases.

However, as the court opined, there is no guarantee the DOJ will not be able to conduct similar raids in the future. Next year’s spending bill could, theoretically, permit the feds to resume these prosecutions on otherwise law-abiding businesses.

You can read the court’s full ruling here