ACLU to DOJ: Keep your medical marijuana promises

The ACLU sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that the Obama administration live up their repeated promise not to prosecute people for using medical marijuana in compliance with state and local laws.

Though Obama and the DOJ have said several times that they would not use federal resources to go after those who are complying with state laws allowing the use of medical marijuana, U.S. Attorneys have been sending letters to state officials telling them that even state workers who handle regulation and licensing of the substance are at risk of federal arrest now.

In a press release, the ACLU said:

The ACLU also says in its letter that the recent U.S. Attorneys’ letters conflict with a DOJ representation to a federal court that the Ogden memo represented a significant policy shift, under which those individuals and entities that use or distribute medical marijuana in full compliance with state medical marijuana laws would no longer be targeted by federal law enforcement. Based on that representation, the ACLU in 2009 voluntarily dismissed a lawsuit against the federal government arising from a 2002 DEA raid of a California medical marijuana garden, in which the ACLU represents a group of plaintiffs including Santa Cruz, Calif. city and county officials, which sanctioned the garden. The federal court had previously upheld the ACLU’s 10th Amendment claim alleging the federal government had selectively enforced federal marijuana laws in an improper federal attempt to undermine and disable the functioning of state medical marijuana laws.

“If, contrary to the assurances its attorneys provided the court in the Santa Cruz case, the federal government’s enforcement policies now include ‘vigorously enforcing’ federal drug laws against individuals and entities who manufacture and distribute marijuana on a completely non-profit basis and in full compliance with state medical marijuana laws, it marks a significant departure from the federal government’s position in the Santa Cruz litigation and could lead to that case being reinstated in its October 2009 posture with discovery proceeding as originally planned,” the ACLU’s letter reads.

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