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420 with CNW — DOJ Court Filing Asserts That Cannabis Supports Tourism Industry

Cannabis News Wire, Media Partners

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is once again urging a federal court to reject a lawsuit filed by prominent cannabis companies aiming to halt the enforcement of federal laws against marijuana activities permitted by states. According to the government, the legalization of cannabis encourages tourism across state lines, giving it the constitutional authority to intervene.

In its recent submission to the United States District Court of Massachusetts, the DOJ disapproved assertions made by marijuana businesses, refuting the notion that federal policies contradict enforcement practices. It further contended that the plaintiffs lacked standing to file the complaint.

According to the DOJ, the plaintiffs contend that the goal of federal cannabis policy is no longer to outlaw the cannabis trade. But even if that claim is accurate, decreasing the marijuana trade is still a worthwhile goal, regardless of whether the government aims for total eradication.

The DOJ also emphasized that the plaintiffs were unable to show that the federal marijuana regulation was illogical. According to its claims, federal regulations give priority to law enforcement resources focused on marijuana-related activities that pose a serious risk to government interests, such as public safety and the prevention of violence.

The lawsuit is spearheaded by Verano Holdings Corp., a multistate operator, along with  Massachusetts-based marijuana companies Wiseacre Farm and Canna Provisions, and Gyasi Sellers, CEO of Treevi. Legal representation is provided by Lesser, Newman, Aleo, and Nasser LLP and Boies Schiller and Flexner LLP. David Boies, known for his representation of various high-profile clients, including former Vice President Al Gore, is the lead litigator.

According to the DOJ, the plaintiffs’ claim of harm under restriction, citing the reluctance of financial institutions to engage with their businesses, is unsubstantiated. They pointed out that the department has not coerced any third parties to refrain from transactions with the plaintiffs.

Moreover, the DOJ asserted that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to overturn the 2005 Gonzales vs. Raich Supreme Court ruling, which maintained federal prosecution despite state-level marijuana regulations. The filing highlighted the constitutional holding of Raich, emphasizing Congress’s power to regulate activities with a substantial impact on interstate commerce.

The DOJ contended that Massachusetts’ regulated cannabis industry stimulates cannabis tourism, contributing to interstate commerce. Despite strict controls, the department argued that some cannabis produced in Massachusetts inevitably finds its way into the illicit market.

The plaintiffs’ claim that a congressional rider forbade the DOJ from using funding to impede state medical cannabis programs was also refuted by the DOJ. It maintained that such laws facilitate cooperation between state and federal governments, allowing states to accumulate experience in handling medical cannabis, which can inform future policy decisions.

In addition, the DOJ referenced a letter from the Obama administration instructing federal prosecutors not to intervene in state cannabis laws, which was later revoked under the Trump era. The department justified its alleged policy to focus law enforcement resources on federal interests as rational.

These developments occur amid a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) review of cannabis scheduling, with the recommendation from the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to III. Despite the Biden administration’s stance against criminalizing cannabis use and possession, the DOJ continues to oppose reform efforts, including challenges to the prohibition of marijuana users’ gun rights.

It would be interesting to hear the views about the DOJ position in this case from companies that have an interest in the cannabis industry such as Astrotech Corp. (NASDAQ: ASTC) since the federal department seems determined to do everything in its power to block any calls for marijuana law reform.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Astrotech Corp. (NASDAQ: ASTC) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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