Obama Issues New Medical Marijuana Rules
Justice Department officials told
The Associated Press
that prosecutors will be instructed that it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state laws. This policy is a weakening of Bush administration guidelines that had Justice officials enforce national anti-marijuana laws regardless of the state laws on the books. Fourteen states currently allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington
California currently has a referendum that could be voted on by the public that would legalize the use of all marijuana, allowing the state to tax on the income coming from the sale of the drug. It is unclear whether the federal government would also let that law go unchallenged or whether this policy would strictly apply to medical marijuana.
The Obama administration's loosening of its marijuana enforcement approach comes
just a week after Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley has announced plans to crack down
on the county's numerous medical marijuana shops. Attorney General Eric Holder said in March that he wanted federal law enforcement officials to pursue those who violate both federal and state law, but it has not been clear how that goal would be put into practice
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