Obama's "Change": DOJ’s Indefensible Policy on Medical Marijuana LegalizationSubmitted by legalizeliberty on Tue, 07/05/2011 - 14:05
Even as Republican lawmakers in states like Indiana begin to open up committees to explore the possibility of legalizing marijuana, especially so that patients with health problems can legally use the drug as medicine, the Justice Department (DOJ) appears set to maintain a strict policy of discouraging and even outright deterring the movement toward legalization.
A DOJ memo released last week provides reason for alarm among those in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, as it signals the federal government may leave medical marijuana patients and caregivers alone but cultivators or distributors of marijuana could still face prosecution.
Noting an “increase in the scope of commercial cultivation, sale, distribution and use of marijuana for purported medical purposes” and the fact that some planned “industrial marijuana cultivation centers” have “revenue projections of millions of dollars” that will likely involve the “cultivation of tens of thousands of cannabis plants,” the memo clarifies the federal government never intended to shield such industrialized production, even if the production might be legal under a state’s law(s).
“Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law. Consistent with resource constraints and the discretion you may exercise in your district, such persons are subject to federal enforcement action, including potential prosecution. State laws or local ordinances are not a defense to civil or criminal enforcement of federal law with respect to such conduct, including enforcement of the CSA. Those who engage in transactions involving the proceeds of such activity may also be in violation of federal money laundering statutes and other federal financial laws.”