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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. CN says:

      I agree with about 85% of the post that I have read so far. I think this is a great start, and will help improve the chances to legalize Cannabis in the near future. Though I have many concerns, for one, it’s not a law (just a Memo) and so it holds no legal tenure. Second, It’s the FREAKING Government. Let’s break this down, Now Obama has said “this” and “that”, and has clearly voiced his opinions about Cannabis, but (here’s the but) in one interview I have seen on the Internet of him talking about the legalization of Pot, he was wishy-washy about the subject, never giving a clear stance in which he takes. If we all can remember to before he was elected in, He was very strong on decrimlizing pot for medical uses, and gave some evidence on why we must stop this costly war battling a plant that has many medical uses ( I know it does cause My buddy has MS and it helps him better then is 1800 dollar meds). The fact I’m really trying to make is that Obama and everyone else is Washington are Politico’s and they will say and do whatever they want to do, just to get elected. So with that being said, I’m happy this memo came out and has shed new light on the subject. But it’s going to take people (stoners) like me and you, and the 1 out of every 3 people who smoke or have tried it and believed that it has some medical use, to really get pot decrim. So stand up America, cause the politicans won’t.

    2. Well, its a step in the right direction. I Hope they spend more time pursing illegal pot operation as they do the illegal oxy (what is it Ft Lauderdail that is giving away Oxycontin [opiates] to people via pain clinics effectively enslaving many through addiction.)operations in Florida. though many are probably happy that marijuana is becoming more readily available be wary to fall into addiction, as pot still undeniably has one.
      I prefer marijuana to alcohol (as alcohol is more addictive, has stronger withdraw then heroin in some cases and is far more intoxicating/debilitating) it is still a drug and should not be used for recreation.

      I am glad that people are actually acknowledging that drugs have there place, but my concern is, that it is in selfish interest that this is pursued( that people just want to smoke weed and do nothing rather then helping people that need the help.)

    3. Jack Eich says:

      osama obama is a talking head who has accomplished nothing in his miniscule career. All talk and no go. I agree with some of the posts that said osama obama laughed at cannabis smokers and said smoking it was not a good idea. he is a socialist and does not want to legalize it. If he scoffs at public opinion he should shit and fall back in it.

    4. Michael DeJaynes says:

      Government run Medical Cannabis Despenceries are one of the keys to victory in rebuilding this devistating financial catastrophy they call a “recession”. There are millions of individuals suffering from illnesses that require the proper ailment specific treatment and these people have been around the Big Pharma block and are tired of all these beyond expensive and very dangerous meds. When Cannabis has no pemanent or dangerous side affects and certain strains of cannabis have been proven to be ailment specific. I’ve had the pleasure to meet a number of people that use cannabis medicinaly and they live happier and more productive lives than when Rx had them in their grasp! Free The Weed(^)(^)

    5. FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN says:

      WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

      This is the way I see it coming down, my prophecy, for what it’s worth.

      FOR MEDICAL USE: Cannabis must be medically legal before the state will act. The State of Clifornia will authorize and license certified growers [for] the state, thereby controlling cultivation and packaging. Growers will be subject to a grower’s tax/tax stamps.

      TRANSPORTATION: will be conducted by the state, employing authorized state licensed medical couriers, delivering diectly from the crowers to the state operated dispensaries, and would be subject to a transportation tax.

      STATE OPERATED DISPENSARIES: will dispense to Qualified 11362.5 Patients “REGISTERED” with the county health department. The “REGISTERED” Qualified Patient will be subject to sales tax. The Qualified Patient will be subject to the laws of the State of California.

      TAXATION: State operated dispensaries will be directly related to the Franchise Tax Board, and the Board of Equalization.

      ENFORCEMENT: Each county health department will be empowered with enforcement through their enforcement division to guarantee the medicines “QUALITY FOR USE” within the county, and the “DISTRIBUTION” within the department.

      This will all be controlled and operated by the county health departments, under the California Health and Human Services Department.

      There ya have it! There ya go! That’s what it’s all about, at least the way I see it.

    6. Jack Eich says:

      I agree with garden of eden. but no laws have been changed and until california goes under dont hold your breath. bankrupt states will be the cause of leglaization.

    7. Ryan says:

      Just came across a great infographic that shows the History of Medical Marijunana Laws in the US – http://www.muffslap.com/medical-marijuana-laws-history/

    8. Roger says:

      good information Ryan and I believe the idea for a tax stamp came from gun control tactics. The government would rather have obedient soldiers than rebels as long as marijuana is a source of revenue they will be satisfied the question is which way is most lucrative policing or taxing. For sure the government will control and profit…

    9. FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN says:

      3141

      “THERE ARE 3141 GENESIST COLONIES IN THE UNITED STATES.”

      That number alone should capture the government’s attention. “IT’S EVERY COUNTY IN THE U.S.” These Genesist Colonies are filled with those who believe in “OUR CREATOR,” and the “GIFT” of Manna as Holy Sacrament…”GENESISTS.”

      “HAVE YOU ARRIVED AT A NUMBER YET?”

      To put some icing on the cake, we are world-wide. We are a body of mass distinction. “GENESISTS ARE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD.” We vote, we fight and die for our country, we pay taxes, and we teach our children how to be good Ameicans/citizens. Some of us become police officers, athletes, teachers, doctors, healers, lawyers, tradesmen, congressmen, and presidents (plural).

      “INSOFARAS I CAN TELL!”

      I could be indidvidualizing with a fellow Genesist…
      “Right now.” I would be thankful for that. I would receive “EQUILIBRIUM OF THE SOUL.”

      “And nothing be refused,
      if received with
      Thanksgiving.”

      “INSOFARAS I CAN TELL!”

      I could be individualizing with the holder of my “GOD GIVEN RIGHTS,” my “CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS,” and the “LAW.” You stand on a Genesist’s path of religious freedom, and rattle your sword. You prohibit our Faith, and the “FREE EXERCISE THEREOF.” You do this with a seemingly clear conscience, often times with vengance…circumventing “VENGANCE IS MINE SAYETH THE LORD” all together. But most of all, you do it with ignorance…either contrived or uninformed. You do it with no regard for the truth…derived from science or God’s word.

      Genesists are not an invisible entity. We are of all monotheistic religions with a common Faith in “OUR CREATOR”…and…the “GIFT” of Manna as Holy Sacrament.
      We are your next door neighbor, we are your friends and relatives, we are your doctor, your lawyer, your judge, we are the cop on the beat…but…we are Genesists.

      “HAVE YOU ARRIVED AT A NUMBER YET?”

    10. Jack Eich says:

      legalize cannabis and outlaw osama obama.

    11. Carl Olsen says:

      FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN has this nailed. Thanks for a refreshing break from the whinning and complaining. Let’s get this done! Manna is the Holy Sacrament!

    12. FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN says:

      261 Carl Olsen

      It’s done for me…it’s done for you…it’s done for anyone who has ever used God’s name in their post. There is 3141 counties in the U.S. I wonder how many constituents in each one of those counties, does it for them????????????????????????????????????????????

    13. […] Obama issues new medical marijuana guidelines from NORML […]

    14. enlightenedone says:

      I believe that this is just a small step toward federal legalization. President Obama was elected in a time where the country is having a lot of issues. In my oppinion, for him to take something that’s not exactly a “top priority” is a wonder in itself. Being a medicinal cannabis patient myself, I’m glad to see anything regarding the forward advancement of the cause. If the president wants to rethink and revise the laws in our favor, that’s awesome, if things stay the way they are, then bummer, We’ll just have to keep trying. I hope that something good will come out of this. GO GREEN!

    15. Caryn says:

      Well what most of you people seem to have not seen on other pages is that they are also urging Congress to pass House Bill 2835 which would make it a law. And the reason that Obama’s ratings are down has nothing to do with medical marijuana but his push for Health Care reform.

      I say good job to Obama he is doing the best he can and you can bet your booty that he will have my vote for re-election in 2012 if he doesn’t royally screw something up… and if the world isn’t obviously going to end…lol

      PLUR!!!

    16. Joel says:

      All the people who think this is too little too late are not grasping the reality of the situation. This is the most Obama can do. He dosen’t have a magic wand wankers. Changing the Law requires Congress to act and there is no political will to do that,(they don’t have the votes yet!). So instead of being pissed by the lack of progress you should take solice in this victory and hope that it leads to more meaningful change. I don’t have to tell you that Bush would never of done this so don’t kick a gift horse in the mouth. OBAMA 2012!!!

    17. Jack Eich says:

      obama is a talking head. well he is supposed to call off the dogs in relation to states with legal cannabis. but in return we sacrafice our constitution and freedoms with a muslim in power. lets donate to MPP and NORML and kick some butt come election day. call and email our lazy politicians to make cannabis legal. Its a flowering herb not a drug.

    18. roaddog says:

      im goin to compliment post number 15 with this truthful statement, the turtle not the hare won the race

    19. Jack Eich says:

      change the law,dont relax it! legalize

    20. […] Obama Administration: New Medical Marijuana Guidelines Are Issued – NORML Blog See all 162 blogs. October 20th, 2009 | Category: Uncategorized […]

    21. 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.

    22. 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.

    23. 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
      medicine.
      Obama is a common sense President. I am greatful to have him as our leader.
      Sincerely,
      Gena Hall

    24. 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.

    25. […] 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…. […]

    26. […] 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 […]

    27. 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

    28. 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.

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