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Eric Holder’s Latest Comment About Medical Marijuana


The Attorney General seldom discusses federal policy regarding medical marijuana, so even a brief remark is enough to get my attention. His latest comments at an event in Missoula were hardly groundbreaking, but interesting nonetheless.

Holder said he made a decision early on that the scarce federal resources would not be used in going after the people who used marijuana according to their state’s laws.

“To treat chronic illnesses, to alive pain from live-ending illnesses, but made clear that we were not going to allow those laws to be used in a way to cover activity that was criminal in nature,” Holder said. [KPAX News]

We’re all pretty familiar by now with Holder’s lead talking point that targeting legitimate medical marijuana patients and providers is a poor use of “scarce federal resources” that could be spent jailing other people instead. It’s a barely-tolerable position that carries with it the tragic implication that we would perhaps resume such persecutions if only our budget would allow it.

Fortunately, here we find a rare concession from the Attorney General that medical marijuana is actually used “to treat chronic illnesses.” This isn’t a particularly startling revelation to anyone who hasn’t struggled to remain willfully ignorant on the subject, but it certainly exposes the absurdity of marijuana’s placement in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, which requires that the drug have no accepted medical use. When the CSA’s primary enforcer is acknowledging legitimate medical applications and declining to exercise prosecutorial authority, that sets a rather remarkable precedent.

I’m not suggesting that we be naïve about the threat of federal harassment that the patient community continues to face. The fight isn’t over and won’t be until medical cannabis users are no longer considered criminals anywhere in America. But winning that battle requires that we take seriously even the most subtle rhetorical shifts in the debate we started decades ago. When the top law enforcement official in the nation acknowledges that marijuana is medicine, that’s a victory for us, and one that seemed all but impossible in the very recent past. Though it may seem like a minor concession in the face of overwhelming evidence and continued drug war excesses, Holder’s remark reflects the gradual maturation of the medical marijuana debate and we’re lost if we fail to notice it.

By Scott Morgan at stopthedrugwar.org

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  1. I was hit by a drunk driver in 1999, I have a brain injury and I take 1100 miligrams of seizure meds, I didn’t know that weed would be such a big help until I tried it after years of suffering from the injury and the side effects of the medication. When I smoke weed, I feel stress free, I am calm, I feel like working, I feel like life is worth leading in a Godly way. In all the past of smoking weed before my head injury I got high! laughing at nothing getting the munchies, just being intoxcicated. things have changed with use of it, Im 30 years old now and I was 18 when I had that wreck, something has to change, I am tired of suffering from all the pain of a stupied drunk driver, weed to me is like a cup of coffee when you get up in the morning, weed just makes me be able to live with an injury, please help

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