Matthew Davies set up a business of medical marijuana dispensaries in California, where the practice is legal under state law. Federal law still classifies Marijuana as a Class 1 drug, which means it can never legally be used, sold, or possessed under Federal Law. While the Feds have announced they are giving up prosecutions of Medical Marijuana users, they are still pushing this case, and want Mr. Davies to enter a plea that requires a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.
So, California says it’s legal. Mr. Davies pays taxes for his sales, and presumably on his income, which the Federal Government is happy to collect. His warehouses and stores are only in California. Regardless of whether you agree with the legalization of Medical Marijuana, why is this an issue for the Federal government? They are allowed to do it under the expansive breadth of the Commerce Clause that the courts have expanded over the years… but why?
How many taxpayer dollars are being spent to prosecute this case. It’s a Federal case, that means all of our tax dollars are being spent to push this through the system. Dollars are being spent on Mr. Davies and his co-defendants. If the case proceeds, our tax dollars could be spent to house them in prison for years upon years. Here’s an estimate that it costs about $25,000 annually to house someone in Federal Prison.
Mr. Davies has a deadline coming up to accept a plea offer, or the Government my proceed to try him for enough charges that he could go to prison for life. You can read more on his website. I personally don’t want my tax dollars spent prosecuting someone for something that California has already legalized. I am unpersuaded by arguments about the need to prosecute marijuana cases. There is no reason this issue is not left up to individual states.