Rohrabacher, Farr Call for Probe of DOJ’s Illegal Med Pot Prosecutions
WASHINGTON – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher , a Republican, on Thursday joined his Democratic colleague, Rep. Sam Farr, in demanding the Justice Department’s inspector general investigate federal agents’ illegal use of taxpayers’ money to prosecute medical marijuana practitioners in states where the practice is legal.
The two congressmen, both Californians, last year co-authored an amendment to an appropriations bill that prohibited such prosecutions. Nonetheless, in a letter sent to Inspector General Michael Horowitz, the lawmakers contended that “since the enactment of Rohrabacher-Farr the Department has continued to pursue and prosecute individuals and businesses for involvement with medical marijuana in states where it is legal despite the clear direction in the law to forswear such activities.”
The Justice Department acknowledges it is currently spending federal dollars to prosecute cases in California and the state of Washington. But in a newspaper interview, Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush claimed the law did not apply in those cases, claiming it only blocked the government from “impeding the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws….”
“Mr. Rodenbush’s interpretation clearly is a stretch,” said the congressmen, who wrote the successful legislation’s language. “The implementation of state law is carried out by individuals and businesses as the state authorizes them to do so. For the DOJ to argue otherwise is a tortuous twisting of the text … and common sense and the use of federal funds to prevent these individuals and businesses from acting in accordance with state law is clearly in violation of Rohrabacher-Farr.”