N.M. lawyer takes Montana pot case – Producers cite constitutional amendment about state powers vs. federal powers

Phaedra Haywood

New Mexico-based attorney Paul Livingston is representing a group of Montana medical marijuana producers who are challenging the federal government’s authority to regulate marijuana on the basis that such enforcement is a violation of the 10th Amendment.

The 10th Amendment states in part that all powers not specifically designated to the federal government are the jurisdiction of individual states.

Police powers and the power to protect the health and safety of citizens belongs to the states, Livingston argues.

Livingston’s clients in the case are a group of Montana businesses and individuals who were the target of a federal drug raid even though they were licensed to grow and sell medical marijuana by the state of Montana.

The case now rests with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. According to court documents, “the federal agents seized and destroyed thousands of live plants,” and “took away hundreds of pounds of dried marijuana” during a March 2011 raid on licensed producers, and stripped certain providers of lights and other equipment used to grow and distribute the herb, which caused his clients significant financial damage.

 

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