Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Obama’s New Medical Marijuana Directive

For the record, I do not smoke marijuana.  I used to decades ago, but that’s another article.  Several states have legalized marijuana for medical use, but federal law enforcement overrode state law and arrested medical providers and users.  The problem was especially severe in the eight years of the Bush/GOP regime, but no more.


The Justice Department's announcement that the feds will no longer crack down on medical marijuana sellers who follow state laws will surely cheer the liberal/libertarian axis that wants the government to take a more relaxed stance on drug laws. It should also please conservatives who champion states' rights as the highest political ideal. But unlike most policies with such broad support, it might actually accomplish something.

The new memo, written by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, urges district attorneys to defer to local marijuana laws rather than federal law, which prohibits all consumption and sales of the drug. The new policy is remarkably uncontroversial. Two-thirds of Americans think marijuana should be legal for medicinal purposes. Obama promised during his campaign to reduce crackdowns on dispensaries; opposition was minimal. Attorney General Eric Holder said in March that the crackdowns would stop and met with little objection. Monday's memo simply made it official. "This is a very safe policy," says Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project. "There's no constituency for going after sick people."

On the one hand, the decision to defer to state laws means that existing local drug policies—however strict or lax—will remain in place. But on the other, many states take their cues from the federal government when it comes to drug policy. States could take the new policy as a tacit nod from Uncle Sam to go ahead and allow medical marijuana back home...

Inserted from <Slate>

I support this move, and I don’t understand why Republicans are so dead set against it.  Isn’t their opposition coming between patients and their doctors?  I think the GOP’s opposition to interfering with the doctor-patient relationship only applies when they use it as an excuse for some other view.


libhom said...

Republicans are only against "big government" when it gets in the way of big corporations.

Randal Graves said...

Too many years of hearing 'only filthy hippies smoke dope.'

the walking man said...

Mi voted for and is establishing rules and procedures for distribution of medical marijuana.

TomCat said...

Well said, libhom.

Yes Randal. Now go take a bath. ;-)

Thanks Mark. The map is a year old.