The U.S. Justice Department issued word to federal prosecutors in the 14 states that permit the medical use of marijuana that they generally should overlook that activity and spend their time and money on busting the big-time manufacturers and traffickers of marijuana and other drugs.
Feds turn over new leaf on medical marijuana
The new memorandum gives the U.S. attorneys discretion to choose whether to investigate and prosecute users and distributors of medical marijuana, but it is viewed as a departure from the government's antagonistic stance during the Bush administration.
“For example, prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.”
Compliance with state laws, however, won't be accepted as a defense when the government does choose to prosecute, the memo notes, and prosecutors will not be expected to show violations of state laws to prove a violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act. The memo emphasizes that U.S. law continues to view marijuana as a dangerous drug and that the distribution of it is a major source of money for criminal enterprises, in particular accounting for the largest revenue source for violent Mexican cartels.
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