CALIFORNIA: In a sharp reversal of federal drug policy, Congress has prohibited the Justice Department from interfering with laws in California and other states that allow the medical use of marijuana. And the turnabout caught the immediate attention of federal judges, who want to know its impact on some recent criminal convictions under the federal law that classifies pot as one of the most dangerous drugs.
A day after President Obama signed the new law last week as part of a government spending bill, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco asked a federal prosecutor whether the change would affect the sentencing of a Mendocino County pot grower, who pleaded guilty to charges requiring at least five years in prison.
Not at all, replied Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Barry, because defendant Matthew Graves “was not growing (his crop) for patients. … He was growing it for money.”
But Breyer wouldn’t take Barry’s word for it, and rescheduled the sentencing for February.