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White House to ease up on medical marijuana prosecutions

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCES FORMAL MEDICAL MARIJUANA GUIDELINES

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have enacted laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The guidelines make clear that the focus of federal resources should not be on individuals whose actions are in compliance with existing state laws, while underscoring that the Department will continue to prosecute people whose claims of compliance with state and local law conceal operations inconsistent with the terms, conditions, or purposes of those laws.

"It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana, but we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal," Holder said. "This balanced policy formalizes a sensible approach that the Department has been following since January: effectively focus our resources on serious drug traffickers while taking into account state and local laws."

The guidelines set forth examples of conduct that would show when individuals are not in clear and unambiguous compliance with applicable state law and may indicate illegal drug trafficking activity of potential federal interest, including unlawful use of firearms, violence, sales to minors, money laundering, amounts of marijuana inconsistent with purported compliance with state or local law, marketing or excessive financial gains similarly inconsistent with state or local law, illegal possession or sale of other controlled substances, and ties to criminal enterprises.

Fourteen states have enacted laws in some form addressing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. A copy of the guidelines, in a memo from Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden to United States Attorneys, can be found here: http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/192

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3 Comments

Valid medicinal value, it’s a victimless crime, the War on Drugs WAY too costly, too many arrests for simple possession, tax it and use the money to pay for health insurance and to reduce the deficit…Need I say more?

Woodstock Universe supports legalization of Marijuana for a number of reasons. Check them out and vote in our poll "Should marijuana be legalized?" at http://woodstockuniverse.com

Current poll results: 96% for legalization and 4% opposed…add your vote. Poll runs through October.

Peace, love, music, one world,
RFWoodstock

I think this is good news, now they can concentrate on major drug problems.

Wouldn't legalizing marijuana and taxing the daylights out of the sale be a wonderful way to decrease our deficit? It would also rid us of a very high percentage of our drug related crime. It should have always been legal to grow for personal consumption. Gateway drug? I don't think so. Look in mom and pop's medicine cabinet; there is where you will find the gateway drugs.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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