Published on: Monday, May 2, 2022

A Maryland federal judge has approved federal prosecutors' request to bar any discussion of cannabis legalization from the upcoming trial of a man indicted for criminal conspiracy to traffic marijuana from California to Maryland (article available here).

In a decision Thursday, the district court wrote that defendant Jonathan Wall's "beliefs about the legality or illegality of marijuana under California law is irrelevant to the elements the government must prove in this case." Accordingly, Wall and his defense counsel would be "precluded from introducing any evidence related to any non-federal jurisdiction's marijuana laws," at the trial, which is set to begin today.

In a footnote to the seven-page decision, Judge Gallagher spelled out precisely what evidence and arguments would be barred at trial, including any discussion of cannabis' potential medical uses, recent or anticipated shifts in cannabis policy, or Wall's personal beliefs with respect to cannabis.

At the time Wall was indicted, cannabis was legal for adult recreational use in California and legal for medical use in Maryland. It is currently legal for medical use in 37 states and adult recreational use in 18 states.