The Department of Justice sent out a memo Wednesday instructing the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration and leading officials in the U.S. Attorneys Office to treat medical marijuana shops as top priorities for prosecutors and drug investigators.
"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 memo reads. "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."
The memo, authored by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, "clarifies" a memo released in 2009 that declared medical marijuana sales in states that have legalized it to be a low priority for law enforcement and prosecutors. The so-called "Ogden memo" first appeared to drug law reformers as evidence that Pres. Obama was dialing back the war on drugs. The DEA and U.S. Attorneys office continued to go after state-legal grow operations and marijuana shops after the memo was first circulated, leading reformers to conclude that Obama was lying when he said on the campaign trail that he had no interest in going after medical marijuana.
In October 2009, David Ogden, then the deputy attorney general, sent a memo that seemed to fulfill this promise. "As a general matter," he told U.S. attorneys, they "should not focus federal resources" on "individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana."
Yet the DEA's medical marijuana raids not only have continued but are more frequent under Obama than they were under George W. Bush. Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which argues that patients who can benefit from marijuana should be able to obtain it legally, counts well over 100 raids in the two years and four months since Obama's inauguration, compared to about 200 during Bush's eight years in office. "The Obama administration really is being more aggressive than the administration of his predecessor," says ASA spokesman Kris Hermes.
I am so angered, if Obama wastes resources to prosecute people growing medical marijuana for the ill (cancer, glacoma aids and more) than these people will not be able to easily get medicine. The whole point of having caregivers and growers is for the ill to have easy access to Medical Marijuana. Obama lied to the country saying he would not mess with state law. His new policies could potentially destroy many businesses bringing tax money to the 16 states that have legalized medical marijuana. I am so furious I cannot even express myself fully. Fuck Obama, he has lost one of his strongest supporters.