Breaking News: President Obama Issues New Medical Marijuana Guidelines

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director October 19, 2009

    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. You can also share your thoughts with the White House on the administration’s decision via NORML’s Take Action Center 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!

    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.

    279 Responses to “Breaking News: President Obama Issues New Medical Marijuana Guidelines”

    1. kathy says:

      and he will acknowledge that we as parents need to talk to our children about another drug to be legal, because he talked to his girls.Whats next? Are we going to pull people over and charge them like a dui for being high?All for people sick with cancer, but it is being over abused on the medical side too.

    2. kathy says:

      I think the government need too make more money. Im a smoker cigarettes, killing me with taxes and health care.Now they need a new direction, too make more money. But for the president to state he smoked marijuan

    3. […] our national marijuana laws. He also explicitly stated on the campaign trail in 2008 that he “would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users“. He gave those in favor of legalization hope in a political landscape where there […]

    4. […] a Memo telling the DEA to respect the state autonomy in regards to their own drug usage laws. (Breaking News: President Obama Issues New Medical Marijuana Guidelines | NORML Blog, Marijuana Law R…) Your response sir…. […]

    5. Interesting piece. Thanks for sharing. It might still be a while before marijuana laws begin to make sense, but it’s nice seeing thoughtful piece such as these put out there to increase awareness of the subject as a whole.

    6. Gena Hall says:

      This give’s our State ( Arizona ) a solid second oppinion to look over. We are hoping to get a measure on our Nov. 2nd ballot, to allow the use of Medical Marijuana in our State,for patients in need of this
      Obama is a common sense President. I am greatful to have him as our leader.
      Gena Hall

    7. legalize it says:

      I do hope more states legalize marijuana and this becomes a nationwide law. It should be decriminalized and not be able to be changed back.
      This is so much like alcohol not being legal and being changed.
      If anything, alcohol is so much more worse for the country and our citizens.
      These bars sending out impaired drivers onto the road at closing time is much worse than a medical dispensary.

    8. Lots of people need medical marijuana. Obama should just legalize it and make it easier on everyone. However, I do think this act is a step in the right direction.

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