Jay Kotzker: United States v. Bilodeau, No. 19-2292 (1st Cir. 2022)

 Jay Kotzker: United States v. Bilodeau, No. 19-2292 (1st Cir. 2022)
CANNANNEW REPORT

United States v. Bilodeau, No. 19-2292 (1st Cir. 2022)  Jay Kotzker On January 26, 2022, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment of the district court from the District of Maine in United States v. Bilodeau.  This appeal required the court to consider whether and under what circumstances a congressional appropriations rider prohibits the Department of Justice (DOJ) from spending federal funds to prosecute criminal defendants for marijuana-related offenses. After being indicted on various marijuana-related offenses, the defendants (two individuals and three companies) alleged that the DOJ’s prosecution of them under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq., was improper given the prohibition against spending federal funds to prosecute criminal defendants for marijuana-related offenses contained in the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment (now known as the Joyce-Blumenauer Amendment), a congressional appropriations rider, which has been in place since 2015. This appropriations rider has played an important role in curtailing federal enforcement of marijuana laws against individuals or entities in compliance with state-legal medical marijuana programs.  This case, one of just a few to address the application of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment to criminal prosecutions, provides valuable insight into the defendants’ burden of proof and the degree of compliance required with the respective state’s medical marijuana laws. Here, the DOJ alleged that that defendants, medical marijuana cultivators licensed by the State of Maine, engaged in “blatantly illegitimate activity”, which allowed them to pursue the criminal prosecutions.  After holding an evidentiary hearing, the district court found that prosecution of the defendants could proceed, reasoning that the defendants did not “engage in marijuana-related conduct for the purposes of assisting qualifying patients but instead were part of a “large- scale . . . black-market marijuana operation.””  Importantly, the district court found that the defendants had not shown by a preponderance of the evidence that they had…

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Source :  Jay Kotzker: United States v. Bilodeau, No. 19-2292 (1st Cir. 2022)

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