United States v. Evans

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment on remand denying a motion by two medical marijuana growers to enjoin their federal prosecutions for violations of the Controlled Substances Act. The panel held that section 538 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act authorized defendants to seek to enjoin prosecution, and thus they bear the burden of showing that it is more likely than not that the state's medical marijuana laws "completely authorized" their conduct. Therefore, the district court did not err by placing the burden of proof on defendants. The panel rejected defendants' contention that the government must procure a jury verdict of noncompliance in Washington State Court before it can prosecute them for their federal crimes, and held that Washington's procedural rules should not be imported into section 538. Furthermore, defendants may not resort to common law defenses to show that the Medical Use of Cannabis Act (MUCA) authorizes their conduct, and the district court correctly focused on their compliance with MUCA itself. Finally, the panel held that the district court did not clearly err in finding that defendants were not "qualified patients." View "United States v. Evans" on Justia Law