Politics

President Obama Defends Prosecuting People for Marijuana

| by Michael Allen

In 2008, President Barack Obama said: "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws [on medical marijuana]."

However, the Obama administration has done just the opposite, cracking down on medical marijuana dispenceries in states that voted to approve medical uses of the plant.

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In an interview with Rolling Stone this month, President Obama answered his critics on the left: "What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana."

"I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana, and the reason is, because it's against federal law."

"I can't nullify congressional law. I can't ask the Justice Department to say, 'Ignore completely a federal law that's on the books.' What I can say is, 'Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.' As a consequence, there haven't been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes."