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President Obama Issues New Medical Marijuana Guidelines
10-19-2009, 09:57 PM,
#1
President Obama Issues New Medical Marijuana Guidelines
Quote:President Obama Issues New Medical Marijuana Guidelines

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In what can only be described as major departure in the so-called ‘war on drugs’, the Obama Administration is issuing a new three page memo this morning [Paul Armentano updates: You can now read the memorandum, signed by Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, here.] mapping out the federal government’s new guidelines for states that have laws protecting medical cannabis patients.

In February Attorney General Eric Holder indicated in a press conference that the Obama Administration–which favors physician-recommended access to medical cannabis–would abate from what had been an aggressive law enforcement (and propaganda) campaign against medical access to cannabis.

Today’s memo from the Department of Justice formalizes these changes and is a MAJOR victory for citizens who support cannabis law reform!

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Quote: Report: New DOJ guidelines to back medical marijuana laws
By Bridget Johnson – 10/18/09 11:40 PM ET

The Hill

The Obama administration is set to make a sharp turn from the Bush administration when it comes to state laws regarding medical marijuana usage, the Associated Press reported late Sunday.

The guidelines to be issued to federal prosecutors Monday will suggest that it’s not a good use of time to go after users and distributors of medical marijuana in the 14 states that allow such usage, while encouraging that illegal pot operations involving violence, firearms and sale to minors still be pursued.

Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington currently have state laws allowing at least limited use of marijuana for medical purposes. The AP reported that federal prosecutors in these states, as well as top officials at the FBI and DEA, would being receiving the three-page Justice Department memo outlining the new policy.

Under the George W. Bush administration, medical marijuana dispensaries were still targeted for violating federal law despite state laws allowing pot for medical use. Attorney General Eric Holder signaled a shift in this policy in March, stating that federal enforcement would concentrate on illegal marijuana operations that use medical pot allowances as a cover.

The move doesn’t come as a surprise, as Obama the candidate had expressed support for states that allowed medical marijuana.

“I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users,” then-Sen. Barack Obama said on the campaign trail in New Hampshire.
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10-22-2009, 12:21 AM,
#2
President Obama Issues New Medical Marijuana Guidelines
US medical cannabis policy eased

Federal prosecutors in the US have been ordered to stop cannabis-related prosecutions in the 13 states where medical use of the drug is legal.

Attorney General Eric Holder said it was wrong for federal resources to be spent on prosecuting people who were in compliance with existing state laws.

But he warned that the authorities would continue to go after traffickers hiding behind medical marijuana laws.

The policy is considered a sharp shift from that of the Bush administration.

California became the first state to permit medical use of cannabis in 1996. It allows special facilities to sell the drug and even to advertise.

In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could continue to enforce US law barring the cultivation, possession and use of cannabis for any purpose, even when states had legalised it.

'Step forward'

But in a policy memo issued by the Department of Justice on Monday, prosecutors were told they "should not focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana".

“ We will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal ”
US Attorney-General Eric Holder

However, they will be required to go after people who distribute more than is permitted under state law or use it as a cover for weapons offences, money laundering and other crimes.

"We will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal," Mr Holder said in a statement.

According to the government, 14 states allow some use of cannabis for medical purposes - Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

However, Maryland only allows for reduced penalties for those found to have used cannabis solely for medical reasons.

Advocates of the medical use of cannabis argue that it is effective in treating chronic pain and nausea, among other ailments.

"This is a major step forward," Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project told the Associated Press news agency.

"This change in policy moves the federal government dramatically toward respecting scientific and practical reality."

But critics said it signalled a retreat in the fight against Mexican drug cartels, whose largest source of revenue in the US is cannabis.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/8315603.stm

Published: 2009/10/20 00:29:43 GMT
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