Attorneys for the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws have filed a number of federal suits in California, challenging the federal crackdown on dispensaries in the state. The three attorneys claim the government has “engaged in entrapment of California patients and their caregivers,” says NORML. Among their arguments, the Washington Post reports, is that the attacks on California dispensaries is a 14th Amendment violation, since a similar crackdown has not occurred in Colorado.
The amendment states, in so many words, that citizens must have equal protection under the law. Clearly, NORML’s attorneys seem to argue, Colorado and California residents are being treated differently here. Their other complaints note the existence of the federal medical marijuana program and cite a Santa Cruz county case that was dismissed. The Department of Justice “promised a federal judge that it had changed its policy toward the enforcement of its federal drug laws relative to California medical cannabis patients,” upon the dismissal of County of Santa Cruz, WAMM et al. v. Eric Holder et al.
What will be the effects of these lawsuits? It’s obvious NORML and its attorneys want to end the assault on California patients and dispensaries. Colorado attorney and medical marijuana advocate Brian Vicente told Westword “the attorneys… are throwing whatever arguments they can on the table in the hope that the federal government will back off.” Vicente doubts the effort will succeed.
Could the suits bring a similar crackdown to the Centennial State? It’s a possible response, being on the other end of fair and equal treatment from backing off of California. But the more likely outcome is that nothing will change. Drug Enforcement Agency-sponsored raids will continue on the coast and dispensaries will close down inland, here, as well.
Still, this case is and will be groundbreaking. Should the NORML attorneys succeed, it will be a huge victory for states’ rights. And if they fail, it will only lend credence to NORML’s Russ Beleville’s thought that “medical marijuana has gone as far as it can go.”