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.

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."