DRCNet reports on a standoff between a Colorado judge and the members of an anti-drug task force whom he cited for contempt of court after they refused to return cannabis they seized from a state-recognized medical marijuana user. The Justice Department, seeking to have the case transferred to federal court, argues that the eight local police officers on the Grand Routt and Moffatt Narcotics Enforcement Team (GRAMNET) were deputized as DEA agents, so they are beyond Routt County Judge James Garrecht's reach. Furthermore, the feds say, the officers had no choice but to flout Colorado law:
It is not the intent of officers or agents of the US to violate state law in the performance of their duties or to ignore orders of state court judges. In this instant, regrettably, such violation was mandated by federal law, a circumstance that is unfortunate and rare. Once GRAMNET members had in their custody contraband as defined by federal statute, they were required to follow federal law in the performance of their duties.
If cases like this multiply, perhaps the federal government will decide to back off and allow a little drug policy experimentation at the state level. Intergovernmental acrimony and negative publicity might accomplish what respect for the Constitution has not.