On Sept. 14, Andrew Schriever, Litigation Department Co-Chair and head of the Cannabis Practice at Cuddy & Feder, submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Washington v. Barr acting as Of Counsel for lead attorney David Holland. The brief was filed on behalf of two organizations co-founded by Andrew, the New York City Cannabis Industry Association (NYCCIA) and the Hudson Valley Cannabis Industry Association (HVCIA) as well as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML); Empire State NORML; and the New York City Cannabis Bar.
This case, for which nine amicus briefs have been filed by eight organizations including with participation from seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives, could potentially mean the end of the federal prohibition of cannabis.
The brief explains how all three federal government branches have enacted laws and policies upholding the rights of medical cannabis businesses in legalized states, exposing a fundamental paradox: if cannabis is federally illegal for all purposes and the federal government has acted to allow for cannabis businesses, then the federal government has nullified its own law. Under the Constitution, something cannot be illegal federally and legal under state law at the same time. The brief argues that the only resolution is to declassify its illegal status on the federal books based on the government’s conduct in promoting and supporting state cannabis markets, applying the legal doctrine of estoppel.