Friday, July 8, 2011

If You Had Any Lingering Doubts, No, the Federal Government Will Not Allow Medical Marijuana

You might have noticed last week's memo from the Obama Justice Department, clarifying its stance toward marijuana cultivation in states where it's been approved for medical use. While candidate Obama declared in 2008 (and President-with-high-approval-ratings Obama signaled in 2009) that he was willing to make marijuana prosecutions a low priority for the DOJ in states where the drug had been legalized for medical use, the new memo took a much harsher stance. In stating that, "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," the DOJ appeared to declare Prop 215 null and void. Well, just in time for the weekend, we're getting a little more news: the DEA has declared that marijuana has no medical use, and has refused to consider removing it from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. Advocates were not surprised by the decision, but say that a ruling from the DEA allows them a chance to appeal; the group bringing the petition to the DEA believes it has a better chance of prevailing in court. Though two prior petitions to decriminalize marijuana were denied, both the AMA and the American College of Physicians responded to the most recent one by urging the federal government to reconsider marijuana's status.

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