Gov. LePage and the Maine Civil Liberties Union were on the same side for once, when they both applauded the passage of a bill that protects the privacy of medical marijuana patients.

The bill ends the requirement that those who use cannabis for approved medical reasons have to register their names and conditions with the state. This is something that no other patient has to do, including those who are prescribed medications that are more addictive and dangerous than marijuana.

We are all for treating medical marijuana as a medicine and treating its users like other patients who need treatment, but there’s a problem.

Unlike all other medicines, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and selling, using and possessing it constitutes a federal crime. Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice have sent conflicting signals about how much they would be willing to look the other way when these violations take place.

The state is right to refine the citizen-initiated medical marijuana law, but it can only go so far. As long as Congress fails to take action, patients and the people who care for them are at risk of prosecution.