Drug Law

Congress Urges DOJ to Clarify Medical Marijuana Policy

| by Marijuana Policy Project

The House committee that oversees the Department of Justice (DOJ) passed an amendment today that adds language to the committee’s report urging the DOJ to clarify its position on state-legal medical marijuana. The provision is a non-binding recommendation, but carries weight given the committee’s role in funding the department.

The need for a clearly articulated policy was highlighted in March when DEA agents raided Emmalyn’s California Cannabis Clinic. The raid, seemingly in conflict with Attorney General Eric Holder’s stated policy on medical marijuana, came just weeks after Holder vowed to end the raids on state-legal collectives. DEA press releases claimed that the raid on Emmalyn’s was not in conflict with Holder’s statements.

Following these events, MPP’s Aaron Houston testified before the House committee charged with overseeing the DOJ. In his testimony, he laid out the need for a clearly articulated policy. Today, the committee adopted portions of the language he recommended.

The language, sponsored by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), states:

“There have been conflicting public reports about the Department’s [DOJ] enforcement of medical marijuana policies. Within 60 days of enactment, the Department shall provide to the Committee clarification of the Department’s policy regarding enforcement of federal laws and use of federal resources against individuals involved in medical marijuana activities.”