Home > civil liberties, criminal justice, law, politics > Obama Administration Reverses Course on Medical Marijuana

Obama Administration Reverses Course on Medical Marijuana

The justice department is threatening to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries in California operating in full compliance with state law. This past Friday, the DOJ released a statement saying:

The statewide enforcement effort is aimed at curtailing the large, for-profit marijuana industry that has developed since the passage of California’s Proposition 215 in 1996. That industry has swelled to include numerous drug-trafficking enterprises that operate commercial grow operations, intricate distribution systems and hundreds of marijuana stores across the state — even though the federal Controlled Substances Act makes illegal the sale and distribution of marijuana.

It’s almost hard to believe the justice department continues to target the legal medical marijuana industry. There is absolutely no reason to take safe, legal, successful businesses that provide a dependable service to the community, while also creating jobs and much needed tax revenue, and throw them and their customers back into the black market. This decision will only create more crime and violence, not to mention the continued waste of valuable resources spent on the ridiculous and unwinnable war on drugs.

Moreover, this move by the Obama Administration stands in stark contrast to what then-Candidate Obama said. The federal government needs to respect the wishes of those states that choose to experiment with medical marijuana or outright legalization. States are intended to serve as separate laboratories with the opportunity to experiment with different practices; unfortunately, the constant overreaches of the federal government effectively destroy what’s left of federalism.

I’ve previously written about drug policy here, here, here, here, and here.

Image via flickr user Spiritual Enlightenment

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