Flying under-the-radar is an interesting federal jury trial starting Monday (8/24) on a single charge of misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Jury selection begins at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Hollows in courtroom 24 on the 8th floor. In U.S. v. Jordan Crittle, No. 09-23-GGH, the government alleges that Crittle possessed marijuana in the Eldorado National Forest and its Trial Brief suggests a run-of-the-mill 1/4 ounce of marijuana case.
Backed by a well-reasoned Memo in Support of Medical Necessity and Belief in Valid Prescription Defenses, the Federal Defender's Office has raised a medical marijuana necessity defense and contends that Crittle's reasonable, good faith belief that he had a valid marijuana prescription negates the federal misdemeanor charge under 21 U.S.C. § 844(a). See Crittle Medical Necessity Proposed Jury Instruction and Crittle Reasonable Belief of Valid Prescription Defense Proposed Jury Instruction. The government's trial brief, no surprise here, denies the existence of a medical marijuana defense in federal court. This morning, Judge Hollows set argument for 10 a.m. on Monday. AUSA Matt Stegman and Lauren Cusick with the FD are working with their respective law students on this one.
This all begs the question. Why are we here in light of Attorney General Holder's comments that the feds would not prosecute medical marijuana cases in California?