Feds won’t give assurance on medical pot – Marin Independent

July 7th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Justice Department says that marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers in states with medical marijuana laws could face prosecution for violating federal drug and money-laundering laws.

In a policy memo to federal prosecutors obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said a 2009 memo by then-Deputy Attorney General David Ogden did not give states cover from prosecution.

Starting in February, 10 U.S. attorney’s offices have asserted they have the authority to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers in states with medical marijuana laws. Prosecutors, the states complained, are not even willing to declare that state employees who implement such laws are immune from prosecution.

State officials say that following a two-year period in which federal prosecutors gave breathing room to state medical marijuana laws, the Justice Department is now toughening up its position as more states move toward opening facilities to dispense marijuana.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana, with programs in various phases of development. The states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

In 2009, the Justice Department told prosecutors they should not focus investigative resources on patients and caregivers

complying with state medical marijuana laws.

The new memo says that view has not changed.

Article source: http://www.marinij.com/tablehome/ci_18422004

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