More Signals of Medical Marijuana Tolerance

Today Attorney General Eric Holder gave the clearest indication so far that the Justice Department plans to respect state laws that permit the medical use of marijuana:

The policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law....Given the limited resources that we have, our focus will be on people, organizations that are growing, cultivating substantial amounts of marijuana and doing so in a way that's inconsistent with federal and state law.

As medical marijuana activists noted, that still leaves unresolved the issue of what will happen to pending cases against people who provide cannabis to patients in states such as California. Thomas O'Brien, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, has gone back and forth on that question. Charlie Lynch, who ran a medical marijuana dispensary in San Luis Obispo, is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday and could spend decades in federal prison.

I wrote about the Obama administration's post-election signals regarding medical marijuana here and here. I discussed the Lynch case, which also has been covered by Reason.tv, last year.

Another positive sign: Congress Daily reports that the Obama administration is likely to revisit the DEA's rejection of an application to establish a private source of marijuana for medical research. I discussed that proposal back in 2003.

[Thanks to Bruce Mirken at the Marijuana Policy Project for the tips.]

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  • ||

    Hey, that's not the pony we were promised! It looks more like an old goat. If Obama is the savior all the liberaltarians claim he is, then I want to see complete legalization of marijuana use and sales. Anything less is just political methadone.

  • ||

    How about just respecting adults being able to injest whatever they like, without putting others in any danger? Who cares how you self medicate or if it is just entertainment?

    Marijuana, cocaine, heroine, whatever.

  • jtuf||

    While every bit we get is good, we should insist on complete legalization. Now is the time to change the law so that hemp dispensories don't have to rely on the good graces of who ever is in the white house.

  • SIV||

    Jacob
    I'm not afraid to admit that I might have been wrong about Obama on this.
    We can only hope.

    The policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law....Given the limited resources that we have, our focus will be on people, organizations that are growing, cultivating substantial amounts of marijuana and doing so in a way that's inconsistent with federal and state law.

    I still smell a loophole: taxes,agricultural regulations,"diversion" etc.

  • ||

    Give me a break. The 'medical' marijuana people are not fooling the anti-marijuana people a bit, and yes, that is all they are trying to do, fool people into legalization.

    Just stand up and say you want to smoke and it is your RIGHT, then be done with it.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I will candidly say that Suki is right: medical marijuana is the thin edge of the wedge.

    That being said, I don't give a shit. Most moderate voters who were raised in the DARE/"Just Say No" culture need a fig leaf, and medical benefits provide them an out to say "but this drug is DIFFERENT!"

    Ditto politicians. They can still go after "hard" drugs for TEH CHILDREN, but say that they aren't denying sick people the treatment they need.

    One step at a time.

  • ||

    Oregon and California are both talking about the state growing taxing and selling pot as a way to boost revenue and cut law enforcement cost. There's a silver lining in every dark cloud. If Obama doesn't fix the rotten economy too fast, we might see full legalization sooner than we thought!It is catching on that the gubmint is missing out on a huge amount of taxes and you know how they can't stand that.

  • Orange Line Special||

    The results are mixed, but I'm prepared to declare victory.

    P.S. Everyone remember: we aren't supposed to mention that crack legalization is our next goal. Save that for later.

  • ||

    What Jefferson was saying was, "Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves - pronto - we'll just be bogus too!" Get it?

  • ||

    "The policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law....Given the limited resources that we have, our focus will be on people, organizations that are growing, cultivating substantial amounts of marijuana and doing so in a way that's inconsistent with federal and state law"

    a) aren't the federal laws the problem?
    b) what authority does the Justice Dept. have prosecuting violators of state law?

    Isn't this just another muddy Obama proclamation?

  • ||

    When I can haz weeds?

  • \"Markets Are Magical!\"||

    "Isn't this just another muddy Obama proclamation?"

    Yeah, like you, and many other people on here give two shits what it means. Intellectual honesty is rare trait even with the most brilliant minds. Hell, it's easier to convince people to kill themselves.

    Anyway, Obama's not a Libertarian church member, and he isn't outright legalizing every single drug on the planet, so it's not worth veering from the "Socialist Monster" script that many of you've been indoctrinated into since birth.

    You're like women. You have a poor grasp of nuance. Bubbling beneath the calculated exterior is a hyper emotional creature waiting for a bus that will never come.

    Ah, yes, the "New Romantic."

    (Please tell me that I bruised at least one ego with this post.)

  • \"Markets Are Magical!\"||

    "When I can haz weeds?"

    The lolcat rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again.

  • ||

    MaM!,

    4/10. Absolutely retarded, but partial credit for the "You're like women, who wait for busses, who know not of nuance" cutdown. Mmmm, that's good crazy. Thanks for coming out, and stay fucked off.

  • ||

    Yo utopians. Major policy shifts take time and political compromise.

  • ||

    What an effin' crock.

    1) Even with a medical marijuana license from CA, you can still be busted for possession. It all depends on The Man's mood.

    2) So if some CA dispensary is believed to be in violation of non-weed federal law, the Feds are still gonna stay away? Sure.

  • KyleG||

    Giving people the freedom to make their own choices takes time and compromise but entitling them to trillions of dollars of debt just seems to happen overnight. fuck.

  • ||

    Here's a spot where Obama is unquestionably superior to both Bush and Clinton, and still the thread is filled with haters. Can't we give credit where credit is due? It's so rare to see the feds actually moving in the right direction on a topic near and dear to many of us here. Can't we use this as an opportunity to take a deep breath, release some of our anger, and smile about something?

  • Anonymous||

    Major policy shifts take time and political compromise.


    That's what they said before Poland was invaded.

  • MNG||

    It's silly to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Marijuana legalization=perfect
    Medical marijuana=good

    Obama seems to be doing something good, something remarkable (any previous administrations been this good on it?). Something that would not have happened had we got a GOP President.

  • MNG||

    I mean, you have to have a right wing streak a mile wide and a kilometer long to still be hating on these actions when even SIV acknowledges Obama's administration is moving towards something genuinely good and your hating because he didn't legalize everything in one fell swoop. Check your biases fellas.

  • ||

    Raivo Pommer
    raimo1@hot.ee

    US-Notenbank

    Zur Stützung des amerikanischen Finanz- und Immobiliensektors will die US-Notenbank zusätzlich eine Billion US- Dollar (770 Mrd Euro) in die Märkte pumpen.

    Wie die Federal Reserve am Mittwoch in Washington ankündigte, will sie bis zu 750 Milliarden Dollar (577 Mrd Euro) an hypothekenbesicherten Wertpapieren erwerben. Außerdem sollen bis zu 300 Milliarden Dollar an langfristigen Staatsanleihen gekauft werden, um die Zinsen auf verschiedenen Märkten zu drücken. Dadurch sollen Kreditklemme und Immobilienkrise überwunden werden. Zugleich beließ die Fed den US-Leitzins auf seinem historischen Tiefstand von knapp über null Prozent, der Mitte Dezember festgelegt worden war.

    Click here to find out more!
    "Die Federal Reserve wird unter den gegebenen Umständen alle verfügbaren Mittel einsetzen, um die wirtschaftliche Erholung voranzutreiben und Preisstabilität zu gewährleisten", hieß es in der Mitteilung der Notenbank nach der Sitzung des Offenmarktausschusses.

  • ||

    federal, I tried reading your comment in my best colonel klink accent. It didn't work. Could someone please translate for me?

  • ||

    brotherben,

    Whenever I see something in German in the comment threads, I just assume it's a screed denying the holocaust.

  • ||

    Ben, it's a love note from Hitler to Eva Braun. Oh shit, I just Godwined the thread!!!

  • ||

    Epi, what is this "godwining" you speak of?

  • Mad Max||

    This is a step in the right direction, but I don't think the Pres has done it for the right reason.

    The right reason is that it's not interstate commerce to grow, harvest and smoke a plant inside the boundaries of a single state, nor is regulating such is a necessary and proper measure to carry into execution the commerce power. The Congressional statutes saying otherwise are unconstitutional. The usual cop-out, that the President can veto unconstitutional bills, and if that doesn't work, he has to enforce them, is not applicable here, since Obama wasn't President when these unconstitutional bills were passed, so he had no chance to veto them.

    The only defense of the constitutionality of federal marijuana regulation is that such regulation is necessary to enforce American anti-drug treaties. These treaties should be repudiated as an improper interference with U.S. sovereignty.

    The President takes an oath or affirmation to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." If the anti-marijuana laws are constitutional, then he must enforce them "to the best of [his] Ability." If not, then he must to the best of his ability treat them as null.

  • Mad Max||

    No wonder Hitler's relationships were so dysfunctional, if his love notes were filled with discussions of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

  • ||

    Epi, what is this "godwining" you speak of?

    It involves a gerbil, one testicle, and lederhosen.

    "He keeps putting his testicles all over me."

    "Excuse me?"

    "You know, like octopus? Testicles?"

    "Tentacles. N-T. Big difference."

  • ||

    you had me at lederhosen.

  • ||

    Works every time.

  • ||

    In my day, Mary Jane gave black men the strength of 10 and all they wanted was white women. Times were simpler then. Not sure what it would do for white folks, we never got that far 'cause we couldn't take the chance. Too dangerous.

  • MNG||

    "If the anti-marijuana laws are constitutional, then he must enforce them "to the best of [his] Ability.""

    Well, he can just say, as Holder did, that the best way to enforce the drug laws, given the limited resources the fed gov has available, is to only go after the ones that are "inconsistent with federal and state law."

    I'm not sure he can get around the "Prez should have vetoed the law" argument by saying "well I wasn't Prez back then." Are you saying any future President can say, about a law that a past Congress passed and past President signed "uh, I don't think that one was constitutional, so I ain't going to enforce that one." That sounds pretty lawless to me...

  • ||

    Ah, yes, the "New Romantic."

    Best music movement ever. IMHO.

  • MNG||

    "Works every time."

    Uh, indeed.

    But works to what end?

    Ah, there's the rub.

    I mean, there is rubbing involved, right?

  • ||

    Mad Max,

    No wonder Hitler's relationships were so dysfunctional, if his love notes were filled with discussions of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

    You really have to hear Adolf read them out-loud to truly understand their allure. Spittle-fleck lips make all the difference.

  • ||

    But works to what end?

    The rear end?

  • ||

    Art-P.O.G. | March 19, 2009, 8:00am | #

    Ah, yes, the "New Romantic."

    Best music movement ever. IMHO.


    Is someone spoofing Art-P.O.G.? That's not cool, man.

  • ||

    So Ron Silver and Natasha Richardson are dead. Who will be number 3, to fill out the celebrity death trifecta? Taking all bets.

  • MNG||

    Epi
    Well done, young Jedi.

    lol

  • ||

    Is someone spoofing Art-P.O.G.? That's not cool, man.

    My love of teh Synthpop is just one more good reason to hate myself ;)

  • TofuSushi||

    So Ron Silver and Natasha Richardson are dead. Who will be number 3, to fill out the celebrity death trifecta? Taking all bets.

    I am hoping it is not Ed Asner. He makes protests worthwhile.

  • ||

    I guess Offred found out Canada wasn't the paradise she thought.

  • John||

    The right reason is that it's not interstate commerce to grow, harvest and smoke a plant inside the boundaries of a single state, nor is regulating such is a necessary and proper measure to carry into execution the commerce power.

    According to Wickard vs Filburn it is.

    The Congressional statutes saying otherwise are unconstitutional.

    The CSA states that because drugs cannot be known to be intra or interstate, they are assumed to be interstate. This is like if you are caught with over a certain amount it is assumed to be with intent to distribute. This is legal because it is what the law says and the law is constitutional because of the Wickard reading of the commerce clause.

  • health advocate||

    I personally think that alchohol and ciggarettes are more dangerous than marijuanna. How many people have you heard that have been killed by a high driver? I know MANY people who have been killed by DRUNK drivers.

  • John||

    How many people have you heard that have been killed by a high driver?

    I know of one.

  • TofuSushi||

    health advocate,

    Keep your hands off of my smokes. Fascist.

  • ||

    Liberals rarely admit to smoking. It makes them appear lumpen. And even if they do admit to it, they would never object to restrictions that they think will apply mostly to other people.

    Spoof-troll foul, 15 yard penalty, no first down

  • TofuSushi||

    SugarFree,

    Just because I smoke them does not mean that I want it to be ok to smoke them everywhere.

    Knee-jerk Republicans like you give your side a bad name.

  • TofuSushi||

    And your baseball rule thingie in bold makes no sense to me.

  • Tym||

    And your baseball rule thingie in bold makes no sense to me.

    Football you mean.

  • ||

    The policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law

    Better than nothing, but less than meets the eye. Subject to change at the whim of the AG and/or his boss.

    And, my understanding is that in California much of the medical marijuana business is technically not in compliance with CA law, which essentially allows you to grow for your own medical use, but not for anyone else's use. California has tolerated the non-compliant operations, but under the Holder policy, they would still be subject to DEA raids until California changes its law.

  • ||

    The only defense of the constitutionality of federal marijuana regulation is that such regulation is necessary to enforce American anti-drug treaties.

    John is right about how federal law on intrastate growing and using of any agricultural product, including pot, is constitutional under Wickard.

    If we were to take the contrary view (which I agree with), so that the feds had no Constitutional power to regulate intrastate agriculture, entering into a treaty which seems to call for the feds to exercise an unconstitutional power does not give them that power. Treaties do not amend or override the Constitution.

    For example, if Obama were to enter into a treaty banning civilian possession of firearms, it would not repeal or modify in any way the Second Amendment, or authorize any federal laws that would be unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

  • ||

    Complain about fouls is also a foul.

  • Mad Max||

    'This is legal because it is what the law says and the law is constitutional because of the Wickard reading of the commerce clause.'

    On this subject, I agree (for once) with Abraham Lincoln:

    I do not forget the position assumed by some, that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court; nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case upon the parties to a suit, as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration, in all parallel cases, by all other departments of the government. And while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be over-ruled, and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice. At the same time the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government, upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased, to be their own rulers, having, to that extent, practically resigned their government, into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there, in this view, any assault upon the court, or the judges. It is a duty, from which they may not shrink, to decide cases properly brought before them; and it is no fault of theirs, if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes.

    'Are you saying any future President can say, about a law that a past Congress passed and past President signed "uh, I don't think that one was constitutional, so I ain't going to enforce that one." That sounds pretty lawless to me...'

    Yes, if the law is actually unconstitutional. What would be 'lawless' would be to enforce an unconstitional law.

    Are you saying that if Congress passes a law requiring the President to kill terrorist suspects without trial, Presidents would have to carry out that law?

    If Congress thinks the President is violating a constitutionally-valid law, the impeachment option is available. There are also judicial remedies (like habeas corpus, injunctions, and the like) in some cases, though not in all.

  • TofuSushi||

    Football you mean.

    Whateverball. I don't follow brutality entertainment.

  • MNG||

    "Are you saying that if Congress passes a law requiring the President to kill terrorist suspects without trial, Presidents would have to carry out that law?"

    If THE PRESIDENT at the time signed it, then yes, he must faithfully execute the laws. A particular President can veto a law if they think it is unconstitutional, but once the OFFICE has passed on it we can't have every INDIVIDUAL who occupies the office decide what they want to execute and what they don't.

  • Robert||

    John is right about how federal law on intrastate growing and using of any agricultural product, including pot, is constitutional under Wickard.


    No, Wickard didn't go that far, but Raich did. The logic of Wickard, which was about promoting interstate commerce in wheat (which could then be federally cartelized), alone would not apply to a case where the federal gov't was trying to suppress commerce across the board in an item. Raich took it farther by saying that by providing an escape from an overall scheme of regulation, it would interfering with the federal law for intrastate commerce to not be regulated by the same law.

  • Electronic Medical Records ||

    When choosing a doctor to take care of your medical needs you need to make sure that the doctor that you trust your most personal information to is keeping that information safe and secure.

  • nick hiltz ||

    whats wrong with recreational weed?
    the govement lets you drink alcohol
    just to get f_._._. up. but thats ok to them cuz ther making a killing of it? they suck don't let them control
    weed. its better off being aganst the law. at least those magets aren't getting rich of it. in fact let them keep spending money to try and stop it
    weed is never gowing anywear.

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