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So Far Washington D.C. Medical Marijuana Spared Federal Threats


medical marijuanaBy Martin Austermuhle

In recent weeks, a number of U.S. Attorneys have sent letters to officials in states with medical marijuana programs to remind them that no matter what their local legislatures say, the federal government still considers marijuana an illegal drug. The District, however, has so far been spared the unwanted federal attention for its nascent medical marijuana program.

As NPR reported over the weekend, the letters have forced some states to put their programs on hold for fear of federal raids of state-sanctioned cultivation centers and dispensaries. Arizona, which is currently implementing a voter-approved program, went so far as to file a lawsuit against the Department of Justice late last week seeking to clarify how federal and state interests are balanced in the implementation of medical marijuana programs.

obama marijuanaThe conflict dates back to late 2009, when the Obama administration indicated that it wouldn’t prioritize prosecuting individuals who grow or use medical marijuana according to local state laws. Each U.S. Attorney has discretion in how the policy is implemented, though, and at least nine have recently sent letters to states with medical marijuana programs to warn them that they’re running the risk of violating federal law.

The U.S. Attorney responsible for the District, Ron Machen, hasn’t yet commented or sent a letter on the District’s program, though his office said today that it remains “under review.”

The letters are a sobering reminder for anyone looking to get into the medical marijuana business in the District — no matter what local voters and legislators say, it’s still illegal. That the District hasn’t yet gotten a letter could well be because Machen doesn’t much care to waste resources on busting a small and restrictive program, but his successors might feel differently.

One saving grace is that the 95-plant limit imposed on each of the District’s 10 cultivation centers would spare their proprietors a mandatory five-year jail term if the feds busted them. (The mandatory minimum kicks in at 100 plants.) On the downside, the District is one of the only jurisdictions that doesn’t allow home cultivation, so if any raids did eventually happen, the entire program would fall apart.

Americans for Safe AccessSteph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, told DCist that anyone looking to run one of the District’s five dispensaries or 10 cultivation centers will be committing what she termed “federal civil disobedience.”

“It’s a very serious commitment, coming from a very compassionate place,” she said of medical marijuana proponents and purveyors. She blamed the letters on a number of U.S. Attorneys “going rogue” and expressed frustration that the Department of Justice has not sought to clarify its 2009 position.

Article from dcist.com


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  1. If you are a Prohibitionist then please read this. Ever since BC and AD there has been weed and even George Washington told everyone to spread their seeds. Now, here we have a natural plant that is a weed like aloe that carries medical properties. The Feds have known this since AD. There were bottles of hemp sold at pharmacies and people used it. People smoked it, ingested it and up until our lifetime is when cannabis became illegal. Why? Because people are awakening and seeing the real reason why Obama keeps neglecting to talk about cannabis or medical cannabis. He sends mixed messages to the Cannabis community. People don’t know if they are safe or not and Obama says that he will keep the feds off medical pot users ass and then after they pay their dues, They get busted and confiscated and Here is why:

    Big Pharma pays the politicians and donates to their campaigns, that is if they are against Cannabis.

    On You Tube, There is ‘The Rick Simpson Story’. He discovered Hemp Oil and was curing peoples cancer. Many older people testified before Congress and made Canadian Congress aware of their findings. People were amazed. The feds stepped in and stopped it.

    Do you know if Hemp Oil Cures Cancer and the government is keeping the cure from us because Big Pharma is BIG BUSINESS in the Cancer Industry with Chemotherepy, Machines, Surgery, Radiation, Stem Cell transplants, medications etc. Do you know how much money the hospitals would loose if Hemp Oil is the cure. Many people away from the government has studied it

  2. If you are a Prohibitionist then you owe us answers to the following questions:

    #1. Why do you rejoice at the fact that we have all been stripped of our 4th amendment rights and are now totally subordinate to a corporatized, despotic government with a heavily armed and corrupt, militarized police force whose often deadly intrusions into our homes and lives are condoned by an equally corrupt and spineless judiciary?

    #2. Why do you wish to continue to spend $50 billion a year to prosecute and cage your fellow citizens for choosing drugs which are not more dangerous than those of which you yourself use and approve of such as alcohol and tobacco?

    #3. Do you honestly expect the rest of us to look on passively while you waste another trillion dollars on this garbage policy?

    #4. Why are your waging war on your own family, friends and neighbors?

    #5. Why are you so complacent with the fact that our once ‘free & proud’ nation now has the largest percentage of it’s citizenry incarcerated than any other on the entire planet?

    #6. Why are you helping to fuel a budget crisis to the point of closing hospitals, schools and libraries?

    #7. Why do you rejoice at wasting precious resources on prohibition related undercover work while rapists and murderers walk free, while additionally, many cases involving murder and rape do not even get taken to trial because law enforcement priorities are subverted by your beloved failed and dangerous policy?

    #8. Why are you such a supporter of the ‘prison industrial complex’ to the extent of endangering our own children?

    #9. Will you graciously applaud, when due to your own incipient and authoritarian approach, even your own child is caged and raped?

    * It is estimated that there are over 300,000 instances of prison rape a year.?* 196,000 are estimated to happen to men in prison.?* 123,000 are estimated to happen to men in county jail.?* 40,000 are estimated to be committed against boys in either adult prisons or while in juvenile facilities or lock ups.?* 5000 women are estimated to be raped in prison.


    #10. And will you also applaud when your own child, due to an unnecessary and counter productive felony conviction, can no longer find employment?

    Private prisons are publicly traded and their stock value is tied to the number of inmates. Here’s what the UK Economist Magazine thinks of the situation: “Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little” http://www.economist.com/node/16636027

    According to Paul Craig Roberts, a former editor of the Wall Street Journal and former assistant secretary to the treasury under Ronald Reagan, “Police in the US now rival criminals, and exceed terrorists as the greatest threat to the American public.”

    “Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with ‘scientific support’, fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others. The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.”  — William F. Buckley, Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495

    There is no conflict between liberty and safety. We will have both or neither.?William Ramsey Clark (1927–)

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