Court bars feds from prosecuting some medical pot cases - KPTV - FOX 12

Court bars feds from prosecuting some medical pot cases

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -

A federal appeals court has banned the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana cases if no state laws were broken.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the federal agency Tuesday to show that 10 pending cases in California and Washington state violated medical marijuana laws in those states before continuing with prosecutions.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but Congress has barred the Justice Department from spending money to prevent states from regulating the use or sale of medical pot.

Federal prosecutors argued unsuccessfully that Congress meant only to bar the department from taking legal action against states and that it could still prosecute individuals who violate federal marijuana laws.

The court ordered trial judges to conduct hearings to determine if prosecutions can continue.

Reporting by Paul Elias

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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