Obama’s Federalist Approach to Medical Marijuana
In new guidelines announced today, the Obama Administration has decided that it will deferring to the states on enforcing marijuana laws when those states have laws allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
The Obama administration will not seek to arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers as long as they conform to state laws, under new policy guidelines to be sent to federal prosecutors today.
Two Justice Department officials described the policy to the Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state laws.
The policy is a significant departure from the Bush administration, which insisted it would continue to enforce federal anti-pot laws regardless of state codes.
Fourteen states allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
A small step in the right direction, but a step nonetheless.