US attorney says Maine’s medical marijuana law violates federal statute

Posted May 19, 2011, at 7:50 a.m.
Last modified May 19, 2011, at 9:34 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s top federal prosecutor says the state’s medical marijuana law violates federal law and the Justice Department reserves the right to prosecute people in Maine who distribute the substance, even if they have state approval.

U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty sent the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee a letter on the subject Monday in response to a request from the committee, which is considering a proposal to make it optional for medical marijuana patients to register with the state.

But Republican Rep. Deborah Sanderson of Chelsea tells the Portland Press Herald Delahanty’s opinion will not change the committee’s stance on the proposal being considered.

U.S. attorneys in numerous other states, including Vermont and Rhode Island, have issued similar letters recently.