Selling marijuana from California to other states
Selling marijuana from California to other states – the US Constitution Full Faith and Credit Clause
Here’s how another jurisdiction (the Oregon Court of Appeals, which is part of our Ninth Circuit Federal Courts here in California), handled a similar argument.
The appeals court stated that the legal arguments underlying defendant’s motion to suppress — that the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the Privileges and Immunity Clause preclude his arrest and prosecution — are wrong. Article IV, section 1, of the United States Constitution provides, “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records and judicial Proceedings of every other State.”
Defendant argues that this clause requires Oregon to apply the CCUA, a “public act,” to California residents when they are in Oregon. According to defendant, Oregon must do so because one state’s laws apply in a sister state unless the home state law “conflicts” with the host state’s law, and California’s medical marijuana law does not conflict with Oregon’s medical marijuana law. The state, citing Franchise 619*619 Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Hyatt, 538 U.S. 488, 494, 123 S.Ct. 1683, 155 L.Ed.2d 702 (2003), responds that the clause “does not compel a state to substitute the statutes of other states for its own statutes dealing with a subject matter concerning which it is competent to legislate.”
We need not decide which interpretation applies in this case, however, because defendant’s argument is fundamentally misconceived. Even if defendant could persuade us that the clause means what he says it does, it would avail him nothing.
The CCUA by its terms provides nothing more than a defense against the enforcement of certain California marijuana laws:
“Section 11357, relating to the possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relating to the cultivation of marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient’s primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.”
California Health and Safety Code § 11362.5(d). The CCUA does not (and could not) provide a defense against enforcement of Oregon’s marijuana laws in Oregon. Put another way, the Full Faith and Credit Clause requires (at most) that a state give effect to rights established between parties that arise from judgments, agreements, or statutes originating in other states. See Delehant v. Board on Police Standards, 317 Or. 273, 282, 855 P.2d 1088 (1993). The CCUA establishes (again, at most) rights between qualified California residents and the state of California — not the state of Oregon. Thus, in this case, Oregon does give full faith and credit to the CCUA, because Oregon does not (and could not) enforce California’s marijuana laws against defendant.