Drug policy conflicts between the states and the federal government are coming to a head. Two congressmen who pushed an amendment to protect state drug laws against federal overreach have now called for an investigation into the Department of Justice.
Representatives Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) sent a letter Thursday to Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasizing the “Rohrabacher-Farr” provision in the most recent spending bill that prohibits the DOJ “from expending any funds to enforce federal laws against” any state with more liberal drug use laws.
Regardless of that provision, the DOJ continues to prosecute.
The provision specifically protects medical marijuana laws on the state level, and the DOJ isn’t authorized to use any funds to undermine them. The DOJ, however, disagrees with how the representatives interpret the position.
In April, The Los Angeles Times explained the DOJ’s logic, citing a press release from a DOJ spokesman that said the DOJ “did not not believe the amendment applies to cases against individuals or organizations.”
The Rohrabacher-Farr letter said the interpretation “clearly is a stretch.”
The struggle between state governments and the federal government on marijuana is nothing new. The federal government raids marijuana dispensaries, and dispensaries struggle to access the banking system, as federal law leaves banks fearful of losing their charters.
The Huffington Post noted that the Obama administration has spent more than $80 million each year fighting medical marijuana on the state level.
Public opinion has grown in support of medical and recreational marijuana use, but federal regulations have been reluctant to embrace the change. Until the law changes on a federal level, the crackdown will likely continue.