cannabisnews.com: MMJ: A Sensible Approach on Federal Policy





MMJ: A Sensible Approach on Federal Policy
Posted by CN Staff on March 21, 2009 at 07:01:03 PT
Editorial
Source: Watertown Daily Times
New York -- The decision by the Obama administration to refrain from pursuing state-approved medical marijuana dispensaries is a reasonable shift in drug policy. It should allow the federal government to redirect limited resources against traffickers and distributors of more dangerous drugs.Marijuana is illegal under federal law. However, California became the first state in 1995 to permit its medical use to alleviate pain for sufferers of chronic diseases. A dozen other states have followed suit with similar legislation, setting up a confrontation with federal laws.
The Clinton and Bush administrations insisted federal law and prosecution pre-empted state laws. Court challenges culminated in a 2001 Supreme Court ruling upholding the Justice Department's right to prosecute sellers of marijuana meant for medical use.Opponents of using medical marijuana object that it is a gateway drug that can lead to more dangerous, addictive drugs. They also challenge the research on the efficacy of marijuana and fear that medical marijuana dispensaries can become fronts for illegal trade.Attorney General Eric Holder, however, has changed directions. He said the administration will no longer raid dispensaries indiscriminately. The focus, he said, "will be on people, organizations that are growing, cultivating substantial amounts of marijuana and doing so in a way that's inconsistent with federal and state law."Medical-marijuana dispensers operating within state laws will not be chased by the Justice Department. Those selling to minors will be prosecuted, as will people with bogus prescriptions using the laws as a shield for illegal activity.Mr. Holder's decision is being hailed by civil libertarians, medical-marijuana activists and states which saw the laws as a matter of states' rights. In many states, possession of minor amounts of marijuana is ignored or a noncriminal violation that results in a small fine.But other steps need to be taken at the federal and state levels. Research is under way, and it should be continued with controlled studies to determine the therapeutic value of marijuana in giving comfort to patients.States have won a political victory. Now, it is up to them to follow through by exercising their states' rights to enact strict controls  from regulating the supply and prescribing of marijuana to overseeing dispensaries to prevent laws from being abused.Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)Published: Saturday, March 21, 2009Copyright: 2009 Watertown Daily TimesContact: letters wdt.netWebsite: http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/Related Articles:Obama To Permit Medical Marijuana Usehttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread24597.shtmlGOP Senator Blasts New Medical Marijuana Policyhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread24596.shtml
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 21, 2009 at 08:56:27 PT
runruff
This time we are in is really like a dream. The dream isn't over but has really just begun. Today is a music DVD day around our home. We watched the Eagles Tour already and now we're watching Neil Young from 1971 called Massey Hall. The light at the end of the road is getting brighter. Have a great weekend.
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on March 21, 2009 at 08:24:58 PT
I like the irony!
13 states rebelled against ol' King George!13 states rebelled against Uncle Sam!
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