LAS CRUCES, N.M. (CN) – A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit from a New Mexico man who sought permission to carry medical marijuana through Border Patrol checkpoints.
Raymundo Marrufo, of Deming, buys state-authorized cannabis from a dispensary in Las Cruces, 60 miles from his home. To travel to and from the dispensary he must pass through a Border Patrol checkpoint.
Officers at the checkpoint ask him, “Do you have any illegal drugs?” Marrufo said in his November 2015 lawsuit against the Border Patrol.
Because marijuana is a Schedule I drug under federal law, it is illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. So if Marrufo answers “Yes,” he risks being charged as a drug smuggler, but if he answers “No,” he could be charged with lying to a federal agent.
His lawsuit cited the Rohrabacher Amendment, a federal law that precludes any federal agency from using federal money to enforce laws that interfere with state medical marijuana laws. He sought an injunction stopping the Border Patrol from questioning citizens about possession of medical marijuana.
U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice, finding that the Rohrabacher Amendment “applies to the Department of Justice, while the Border Patrol is under the Department of Homeland Security.”
However, Marrufo’s attorney Jason Flores-Williams, in Denver, said that if Marrufo or any other medical marijuana user were to be prosecuted for carrying cannabis through a Border Patrol checkpoint, it would likely be the Department of Justice to prosecute the case.
Marrufo is pursuing a similar case in state court, and a third lawsuit against the New Mexico Department of Health, for failing to provide delivery of medical marijuana to patients in areas which that a dispensary.
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