Last week the Department of Justice issued new guidelines to U.S. Attorneys concerning investigations and prosecutions in states that have authorized the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes. These guidelines are a positive step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to ensure real and lasting protection for patients and their providers in medical cannabis states. In particular, individuals accused of violating federal marijuana laws must be permitted to use evidence in federal court to demonstrate that their use of medical marijuana followed state law and was used to alleviate suffering. To that end, U.S. Representative Sam Farr (D-CA), and a bipartisan group of his colleagues, re-introduced the “Truth in Trials” bill in the U.S. House of Representatives today.
The “Truth in Trials” Act establishes an affirmative defense for individuals who are authorized to use and provide medical cannabis in accordance with state and local law. Under the provisions of the bill, patients and their caregivers would be permitted to introduce evidence for the court’s consideration which may demonstrate compliance with a state medical marijuana law. Indeed, the “Truth in Trials” bill is a logical and necessary legislative complement to the DOJ’s new policy.
According to the bill’s lead sponsor, California Congressman Sam Farr:
“This is a common sense bill that will help stop the waste of law enforcement and judicial resources that have been spent prosecuting individuals who are following state law.”
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“We need strict drug laws, but we also need to apply a little common sense to how they’re enforced. This legislation is about treating defendants in cases involving medical marijuana fairly, plain and simple.”
Ask your U.S. Representative to become a cosponsor of the “Truth in Trials” Act. And, please share this post with your family, friends, and colleagues – together we can make a difference!