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A U.S. District judge has ruled that the medical marijuana law of Montana does not protect suppliers of the drug from federal prosecution. This ruling delivered a new blow to a fledgling industry that is already reeling from crackdowns by state and federal authorities.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy junked a civil lawsuit brought about by 14 individuals and businesses that were among the over two dozen providers of medical marijuana who were raided by federal agents last year.
The providers alleged that the raids had violated their constitutional rights partly because a state law that was passed by voter initiative in 2004 permitted them to grow and produce marijuana for medical consumption.
In his order, Judge Molloy said that the providers can be charged under the federal Controlled Substances Act even if they are acting in accordance with state law. Molloy cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2005 which said that the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution applies in medical pot cases.
The supremacy clause states that federal law will prevail if there is an existing conflict between federal and state statutes.
In his decision, Judge Molloy wrote, “Whether the plaintiffs’ conduct was legal under Montana law is of little significance here, since the alleged conduct clearly violates federal law. We are all bound by federal law, like it or not.”