cannabisnews.com: A Federal About-Face on Medical Marijuana
function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('A Federal About-Face on Medical Marijuana');
 url=encodeURIComponent('http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/25/thread25073.shtml');
 site = new Array(5);
 site[0]='http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u='+url+'&title='+tit;
 site[1]='http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit.php?url='+url+'&title='+tit;
 site[2]='http://digg.com/submit?topic=political_opinion&media=video&url='+url+'&title='+tit;
 site[3]='http://reddit.com/submit?url='+url+'&title='+tit;
 site[4]='http://del.icio.us/post?v=4&noui&jump=close&url='+url+'&title='+tit;
 window.open(site[num],'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=620,height=500');
 return false;
}






A Federal About-Face on Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on October 19, 2009 at 10:06:58 PT
By Josh Meyer, Reporting from Washington
Source: Los Angeles Times
Washington, D.C. -- Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said today the Obama administration is officially reversing the federal stance on medical marijuana and ordering authorities not to arrest or charge any users and suppliers who conform to state laws.In guidelines issued today, Justice Department officials are telling prosecutors and federal drug agents that they have more important things to do than to arrest people who obey state laws that allow some use or sale of medical marijuana.
The move clarifies what some critics had said was an ambiguous position of the Obama administration on the controversial issue, especially in the battleground state of California, where authorities have raided numerous clinics and made arrests over the years. Some of those California raids followed Obama's inauguration in January, after, as a presidential candidate, he had pledged to stop them.The new guidelines note that federal law enforcement agencies have limited resources and that they need them for more pressing priorities. One of those priorities is countering the spread of violent Mexican drug cartels, which use the vast profits from their marijuana sales in the United States to support other criminal activities, the guidelines say.The Justice Department will continue to prosecute people whose claims of compliance with state and local law conceal operations that are "inconsistent" with the terms, conditions or purposes of those laws, according to Holder and Deputy Atty. Gen. David W. Ogden, who issued a three-page memorandum outlining the new guidelines."It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana, but we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal," Holder said in a statement accompanying the new guidelines. "This balanced policy formalizes a sensible approach that the Department has been following since January: effectively focus our resources on serious drug traffickers while taking into account state and local laws."The guidelines effectively reverse Bush administration policy, which held that authorities should continue to enforce federal drug laws even in states with medical marijuana laws on the books."This is a major step forward," Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told the Associated Press. "This change in policy moves the federal government dramatically toward respecting scientific and practical reality."Other states that allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes are Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.But California is unusual in its allowance of dispensaries that sell marijuana and advertise their services. The post-inauguration raids of such clinics in Venice, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey and South Lake Tahoe spurred activists to demand that Obama put some kind of formal policy in place.In March, Holder put federal law enforcement officials on notice that he wanted them to pursue scofflaws who violate both federal and state law. The reported at the time that Holder's comments essentially marked an end to the Bush administration policy. But until Monday's formal action, it was not clear how the Justice Department planned to proceed.The new guidelines provide "clarification and guidance" to prosecutors and agents of the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration. They include examples of misconduct that would indicate that individuals are not in "clear and unambiguous" compliance with applicable laws, including unlawful use of firearms, violence, sales to minors, money laundering, unduly large amounts of marijuana, marketing or excessive financial gains, illegal possession or sale of other controlled substances, and ties to criminal enterprises.The Justice Department also made it clear that it was reserving the right to file charges in other circumstances."Of course, no state can authorize violations of federal law, and the list of factors above is not intended to describe exhaustively when a federal prosecution may be warranted," the Justice Department guidelines said.And it indicated that prosecutors should review existing cases with the new guidelines in mind, suggesting that some pending or ongoing prosecutions could be dropped. "Your offices should continue to review marijuana cases for prosecution on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the guidance on resource allocation and federal priorities set forth herein, the consideration of requests for federal assistance from state and local law enforcement authorities, and the Principles of Federal Prosecution," according to the guidelines.Note: New Justice Department guidelines order federal drug agents to cease arresting or charging patients, caregivers or suppliers who are conforming with state law.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author:  Josh Meyer, Reporting from WashingtonPublished: October 19, 2009Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: http://www.latimes.com/URL: http://drugsense.org/url/69ufSQgiCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/medical.shtml
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 
     
     
     
     




Comment #23 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 11:51:06 PT
fight_4_freedom 
We've come a long way in a short time frame. Hopefully you will be back on line by winter. Take good care of yourself.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #22 posted by fight_4_freedom on October 22, 2009 at 11:44:03 PT
Good to see you too FoM
Still don't have my own personal internet access so I just chime in when I can. We had a really good Compassion Club meeting last night here in town. Showed the way to some confused individuals as to where to turn, and how to get started. Helping one another feels so great.Hope nothing but the best for all you C-Newsers! I miss you all!ONE LOVE
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #21 posted by FoM on October 19, 2009 at 14:36:31 PT
More From The LA Times Blog
Judge Grants Injunction Against City's Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban October 19, 2009URL: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/10/judge-rules-against-citys-medical-marijuana-dispensary-ban.html
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #20 posted by herbdoc215 on October 19, 2009 at 14:25:03 PT
Preliminarey injunction! 
Now that is good news indeed! At least now there may be triage in sorting out LA scene. Hate to throw the baby out with the wash water! peace, steve
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #19 posted by Storm Crow on October 19, 2009 at 13:39:20 PT
A little more good news- from Faux News, yet! 
http://www.fox11az.com/news/local/64786662.html
  
Judge rules against LA's medical pot moratoriumPosted on October 19, 2009 at 1:03 PMUpdated today at 1:03 PMLOS ANGELES (AP)  A judge has temporarily barred Los Angeles from enforcing a moratorium on medical marijuana clinics.Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant on Monday granted a preliminary injunction sought by Green Oasis, a medical marijunana collective that sued last month.The judge ruled that the City Council failed to follow state law when it extended an initial ban on new dispensaries. (snipped)
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #18 posted by ekim on October 19, 2009 at 12:33:15 PT
sorry
wrong entry
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #17 posted by ekim on October 19, 2009 at 12:31:45 PT
gee F 4 F
i just finished reading your reply way back nov 5 01best of luckmike
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #16 posted by FoM on October 19, 2009 at 12:28:47 PT
fight_4_freedom
It's great to see you!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #15 posted by fight_4_freedom on October 19, 2009 at 12:22:03 PT
Thank You Mr. President
It's about time :)
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #14 posted by FoM on October 19, 2009 at 11:51:14 PT
Hope
You got mail.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #13 posted by FoM on October 19, 2009 at 11:43:45 PT
Hope
I want to send you when I get the picture cut down a funny picture of 2 rottweilers. It should be in a magazine.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #12 posted by Hope on October 19, 2009 at 11:40:21 PT
Dog discernment.
They darn sure know the difference between a bear and a squirrel. No doubt.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #11 posted by Hope on October 19, 2009 at 11:34:08 PT
Dog and bear stories with happy endings
are good.That was so funny, Herbdoc... and so typical.I'm reminded of a story EJ told us about when her big dog encountered a bear a while back.Big dogs and bears! They are big but they aren't stupid!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #10 posted by FoM on October 19, 2009 at 11:34:00 PT
herbdoc215
I'm so glad he is ok. My guy is doing well. We've come a long way since CNews was started in 98. We aren't there yet but we are passing the half way point I believe.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #9 posted by herbdoc215 on October 19, 2009 at 11:28:02 PT
FoM :) It's not about need....nor protection
It's about want, as I'm a old school red neck and I love to go into deep woods and hunting as well as target shooting. I feel as a disabled vet I should be able to keep such things around without them making me a criminal, ONLY if I use said weapons to commit a crime should they be illegal? As for the rottweiler he jumped behind me the other night when a bear ran at us in the yard as he thought I should be the one to handle it...but he sure sounded mean to beat the band from between my legs growling :) but I've since thought about entering him into dog races as he beat me to the porch by at least 100 yds and never was winded??? Dartanions knot beside his eye is clearing up and vet says it was some kind of infection (myself I think Miss Kitty gave him a 'love' slap to remind him who was boss)
  But seriously, being on a good relationship with the local LEO and letting them inspect us 4 times last year all of which we passed with flying colors has given me the ultimate security, in that I can call the local law and have them here in two shakes and not worry about them messing with me. it's the federal agencies and their trumped up charges that have me worried. Peace, steve 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #8 posted by FoM on October 19, 2009 at 11:02:45 PT
Correction
It was Nixon not Reagan. 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #7 posted by FoM on October 19, 2009 at 10:56:14 PT
Sam
What happened before today would be like some of the last soldiers killed in a war unfortunately. I have always said to be careful since the opposition is angry knowing that change is coming.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #6 posted by FoM on October 19, 2009 at 10:53:23 PT
herbdoc215
Since the news is serious I thought I'd throw in a little humor.Who needs a gun if you have a Rottweiler! LOL!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on October 19, 2009 at 10:53:08 PT
info from California NORML
Here is an interesting update about people who are not reading about this in the paper but are actually caught in the feds' web as we speak:http://www.canorml.org/news/willtheyreally.html
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 19, 2009 at 10:51:55 PT
herbdoc215 
Maybe I'm wrong but didn't Reagan make a law about guns and drugs? Is it the RICO law? I could be wrong though.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #3 posted by herbdoc215 on October 19, 2009 at 10:43:31 PT
Here it is...1st Gun Ban by Obama
That will not be cried about by right wingers I'd bet! It's my understanding that "including unlawful use of firearms" phrase gets used to file a bunch of charges as the possession of a firearm with cannabis is "unlawful" which is really unfair if it's not being used irresponsibly as society has demonstrated it's not able nor willing to protect us? The "Violence" thing is silly as well as all the violence I've seen has been directed at us, does that mean we will be charged if we defend ourselves? I agree that things are moving into the light of day and are finally open for discussion but we must be ever vigilant now more than ever or we stand to lose what little ground we've fought so hard to gain. Peace, steve 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 19, 2009 at 10:31:31 PT
Related Article From Reuters
U.S. Won't Go After Medical Marijuana in States Where Legal*** By James ViciniOctober 19, 2009Washington, D.C. -- In a policy shift, the Obama administration told federal prosecutors not to go after patients who use medical marijuana or dispensaries in states where it has been legalized, as long as they comply with state and federal laws.A Justice Department official said the formal guidelines were sent on Monday in a policy change reflecting President Barack Obama's views. The Bush administration had said it could enforce the federal law against marijuana and that it trumped state laws.As a candidate during his presidential bid last year, Obama said that he intended to halt raids of medical marijuana facilities operating legally under state laws.After Obama took office in January, a Drug Enforcement Administration raid on a medical marijuana dispensary in Lake Tahoe, California, raised questions about whether he would follow that pledge.A White House spokesman repeated Obama's view that "federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws." And Attorney General Eric Holder said he would follow Obama's position.California became the first state to allow medical marijuana in 1996. About a dozen states have adopted similar laws.In a statement, Holder said the Justice Department will continue to prosecute people who claim to comply with state or local law, but really are concealing illegal operations."It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana," Holder said."But we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal," he said.A Justice Department official said federal prosecutors will not hesitate to prosecute medical marijuana cases that involve unlawful use of firearms, violence, illegal sales to minors, money laundering or other violations of the law.The guidelines announced on Monday make clear the policy the Justice Department has been following since January. The official said federal resources would be better spent by focusing on major drug traffickers.The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the federal government may continue to enforce U.S. law barring the cultivation, possession and use of cannabis for any purpose, even when states seek to legalize it for medical reasons.Editing by David Alexander and Jackie FrankCopyright: 2009 Thomson ReutersURL: http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE59I3XD20091019
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 19, 2009 at 10:07:45 PT
What a Day!
The news has been so slow and today we get this news. 
[ Post Comment ]


Post Comment