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Interesting arguments raised by defense in federal marijuana case

Novel legal arguments are being presented in a federal drug case that are broadly relevant and might be of interest to many of our readers in Arkansas. We provide material details immediately below.

A Michigan state defendant currently facing drug charges for his role in a marijuana grow enterprise has asked for an evidentiary hearing before a federal judge. The following two issues loom large in the case.

First, the man is openly challenging his prosecution based on the argument that marijuana has long been designated inappropriately as a so-called “Schedule 1” dangerous drug. His legal counsel is arguing that the medicinal value in marijuana is obvious and has been long noted.

As such, the defense contends, it is the duty of the federal courts to step in and acknowledge that when the evidence clearly establishes it. The defense has solicited the expert testimony of multiple parties to promote the position that no rational reason exists to regard marijuana as a controlled drug necessitating harsh punishment for those who possess it.

Notably, the defendant has analogized his case to those focused on same-sex marriages, noting that the recent United States Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act underscored the point that federal courts have a duty “to rectify past misperceptions which result in constitutionally unsound legislation.”

The defendant is also challenging the variance in federal outcomes in pot-related cases based on the state in which a person charged with a criminal offense lives. He points to a government policy of forgoing prosecution in cases where defendants acted in accordance with their state’s medical marijuana laws.

That latter argument would not be relevant as applies to Arkansas, given that the state is not among those that have passed legislation legalizing medicinal pot.

Source: MLlive.com, "Attorney says marijuana wrongly classified as dangerous drug, federal prosecution unfair," John Agar, June 20, 2014

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