A federal appeals court has banned the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana cases if no state laws were broken.
Marijuana is illegal under federal law, but several states, like California, allow for medicinal use. This conflict has led to legal debates about whether the Justice Department should be allowed to come into states like California and prosecute medical marijuana related crimes. The Associated Press reports that a three judge panel of the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco yesterday ordered the Justice Department to show that 10 pending cases in California and Washington violated the local state medical marijuana rules before continuing with prosecutions.
Federal prosecutors now have the option of petitioning the matter to the US Supreme Court. Marijuana is legal within some form, whether recreational or medicinal, in 25 states.