I have argued in the past that the Ryan Haight Act benefits criminal defendants in pending internet pharmacy federal prosecutions (i.e. those indicted for actions occurring prior to the effective date of the Controlled Substances Act Ryan Haight Amendments). In short, if the Ryan Haight Act attempts to outlaw prescriptions issued by doctors without a physical evaluation via online pharmacies (not falling within the telemedicine exception), it should follow that such conduct was legal prior to the new law’s effective date. Otherwise, why was Congress wasting its time passing redundant legislation?
Despite the logical and intuitive nature of this argument, the DEA and DOJ have prosecuted internet pharmacies for the same conduct long before the Ryan Haight Act was signed into law. To explain, some argue that the Ryan Haight Amendment, instead of criminalizing something new, meant to clarify actions already illegal. Aside from the fact that, if true, the lack of clarity itself justifies the dismissal of the case or an acquittal, this argument is dead wrong (see my argument here).
I continue to find support for this position via legislative history and other related documentation. While I don’t anticipate posting everything I find here, I thought I would post an interesting piece of evidence that I came across tonight.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is the primary congressional agency charged with determining the budgetary ramifications of pending legislation. The Congressional Budget Office Report on the Ryan Haight Act expressly states:
H.R. 6353 would establish new crimes and increase penalties for activities relating to illegal use of controlled substances.
I anxiously await and welcome any good faith response to this, especially when you add this to the multitude of Congressional quotes claiming the Ryan Haight Act fills gaps in current criminal legislation.
The content on this post does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. You should not act upon the information presented on this website without seeking the advice of legal counsel. Should you wish to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney knowledgeable in internet pharmacy, prescription, and drug law, please feel free to contact me directly.