United States District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller plans to announce her decision within 30 days of receiving the defense motion to dismiss the charges against nine men accused of illegally growing marijuana in California. This case has generated significant media attention because the outcome may set a precedent going forward.
Judge Mueller asked the prosecutors during closing arguments, “If I were persuaded by the defense’s argument, if I bought their argument, what would you lose here?”
In 2011, these men were charged with growing marijuana on federal land in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Northern California. If convicted, they face up to life imprisonment and a $10 million fine.
Cannabis is improperly classified as a Schedule I substance
Zenia Gilg is the San Francisco defense attorney who represented these men during closing arguments. She stated that Congress recently cut funding to the Department of Justice for interfering in states’ implementation of their medical marijuana laws. She argued that the federal government improperly classified marijuana as a Schedule I substance, which meant it is the one of the most dangerous substances available and has no medical benefits. Zenia pointed out that 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana which further proves that cannabis has been unconstitutionally classified as a Schedule I substance.
“It’s impossible to say that there is no accepted medical use,” said Gilg, who has argued that her client was growing marijuana for medical use.
Up to Congress, not the courts
Assistant U.S. attorney Gregory Broderick said it is up to Congress to change the law, not the court. “We’re not saying that this is the most dangerous drug in the world,” Broderick said. “All we’re saying is that the evidence is such that reasonable people could disagree.”
Broderick stated that these men were growing marijuana on private land and had weapons, which in his mind meant that they were not producing medicine.
Broderick’s arguments make no sense. The reason why these men had weapons is because the federal government refuses to take action on deregulation of marijuana and therefore makes the industry more risky. Companies that grow and sell marijuana are unable to use banks and their businesses are more risky due to the all-cash nature of the industry. If the government was proactive and allowed these businesses to use banks, maybe these men would not have needed guns for their protection.