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William McDevitt, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker

The sale of cannabis is illegal under federal law in all 50 states, U.S. territories and U.S. possessions. Yet, as of May 1, 29 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam and Puerto Rico recognized the legality of marijuana in some form (raw or processed) and for some purpose (medicinal or adult-use/recreational). The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists cannabis as a Schedule I Substance, lacking any beneficial or medical value. However, under a federal funding statute, popularly called the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, the DEA is barred from prosecuting any person or entity that participates in or operates a medical marijuana program that is legal under state law. This budget limitation functionally extends to every medical marijuana entity that simultaneously participates in a “state-legal” medical and adult-use market (i.e., almost every state-legal adult-use market participant).

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