Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Obama Administration To Respect States' Medical Marijuana Laws

While conservatives love to talk about states' rights and the oppressiveness of big government, the Bush administration conducted federal raids on medical marijuana distributors even when they complied with state laws.

In a welcome and sensible departure, the Obama administration will respect the laws of states that allow the dispensing of marijuana to relieve human suffering:

People who use marijuana for medical purposes and those who distribute it to them should not face federal prosecution, provided they act according to state law, the Justice Department said Monday in a directive with far-reaching political and legal implications.

In a memorandum to federal prosecutors in the 14 states that make some allowance for the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the department said that it was committed to the “efficient and rational use” of its resources and that prosecuting patients and distributors who are in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state laws did not meet that standard.

Graham Boyd, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Drug Law Reform Project, hailed the move as "an enormous step in the right direction and, no doubt, a great relief to the thousands of Americans who benefit from the medical use of marijuana." He said that the policy will result in "a strong incentive to create regulated, safe and sensible means of getting marijuana to patients who need it."

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