U.S. Attorney memo spells out fed attack on medical marijuana

U.S. Attorney memo spells out fed attack on medical marijuana

As people in Montana and beyond struggle to come to grips with a massive federal raid of Montana medical marijuana businesses, the question that comes up is Were these businesses violating state law that allows medical marijuana, or were they raided because they are in violation of federal law, which prohibits the use and possession of marijuana.

This memo from a U.S. Attorney, shared with the Colorado Independent may shed some light on that question.

The memo was sent to the Independent by the Cannabis Therapy Institute, and can be seen here (pdf).

The “Haag Memo” was written on Feb. 1, 2011 by United States Attorney Melinda Haag (Northern District of California) to John A. Russo, Esq., Oakland City Attorney, in response to an Oakland City Council request for guidance regarding medical marijuana and federal law. Haag writes that the memo was written with consultation and approval from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder had previously said the feds would not interfere with states that legalized medical marijuana.

From the memo:

We will enforce the CSA (Controlled Substances Act) vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law.

Others who knowingly facilitate the actions of the licensees, including property owners, landlords, and financiers should also know that their conduct violates federal law.

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About the Author

Scot Kersgaard

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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