Obama Approaches Third Medical Marijuana Strike


Two days after President Obama's inauguration, the DEA raided a medical marijuana dispensary in South Lake Tahoe, California. Yesterday, on the same day Eric Holder took office as Obama's attorney general, the DEA raided two Los Angeles dispensaries. Obama deserves a certain amount of transitional slack in delivering on his promise to respect state laws regarding the medical use of marijuana, but with drug warriors operating on auto pilot in this area he needs to step in soon and let them know the federal policy has changed. Stephen Gutwillig, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance, worries that Obama might pull a Bush:

When President Bush was on the campaign trail in 2000 he promised not to interfere in state medical marijuana laws, but that turned out to be a lie as the DEA proceeded to terrorize medical marijuana patients and providers by raiding dozens of dispensaries across California. President Obama said on the campaign trail that these raids would end under his administration, and millions believed him. We hope these recent raids don't represent official Administration policy and that Obama will order federal agencies in no uncertain terms to stop harassing medical marijuana patients and providers in California.

"I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," Obama told the Southern Oregon Mail Tribune last March. How many more raids will it take before that counts as a lie?