Drug Law

Obama's Medical Marijuana Decision a Major Victory

| by NORML

In what can
only be described as major departure in the so-called ‘war on drugs’,
the Obama Administration is issuing a new three page memo this morning
mapping out the federal government’s new guidelines for states that
have laws protecting medical cannabis patients.

In February Attorney General Eric Holder indicated in a press
conference that the Obama Administration–which favors
physician-recommended access to medical cannabis–would abate from what
had been an aggressive law enforcement (and propaganda) campaign
against medical access to cannabis.

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Today’s memo from the Department of Justice [see below] formalizes these changes
and is a MAJOR victory for citizens who support cannabis law reform!

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Report: New DOJ guidelines to back medical marijuana laws
By Bridget Johnson – 10/18/09 11:40 PM ET

The Hill

The Obama administration is set to make a sharp turn from the Bush
administration when it comes to state laws regarding medical marijuana
usage, the Associated Press reported late Sunday.

The guidelines to be issued to federal prosecutors Monday will
suggest that it’s not a good use of time to go after users and
distributors of medical marijuana in the 14 states that allow such
usage, while encouraging that illegal pot operations involving
violence, firearms and sale to minors still be pursued.

Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan,
Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and
Washington currently have state laws allowing at least limited use of
marijuana for medical purposes. The AP reported that federal
prosecutors in these states, as well as top officials at the FBI and
DEA, would being receiving the three-page Justice Department memo
outlining the new policy.

Under the George W. Bush administration, medical marijuana
dispensaries were still targeted for violating federal law despite
state laws allowing pot for medical use. Attorney General Eric Holder
signaled a shift in this policy in March, stating that federal
enforcement would concentrate on illegal marijuana operations that use
medical pot allowances as a cover.

The move doesn’t come as a surprise, as Obama the candidate had expressed support for states that allowed medical marijuana.

“I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding
medical marijuana users,” then-Sen. Barack Obama said on the campaign
trail in New Hampshire.